Charity as a matter of course


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MUSCATINE — For some Hawkeye football players and longtime play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin, the math was easy this weekend: Nine holes in golf for 102,494 candidates waiting for organ donations.

The Iowa Transplant Open, which was held July 18 at the Geneva Golf and Country Club, was made up of organ donors and recipients.

People across the world are awaiting organ transplants to save their lives, much like some of the Iowa Transplant Open committee had before.

The purpose of this golf benefit was to raise funds and awareness for organ and tissue donation. A portion of the money raised will help Team Iowa members participate in the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games in Madison, Wis.

Kim Burdakin, who was a cochairwoman of the event, had a kidney transplant nine years ago. She said she wanted people to know there are those out there actively seeking help.

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“The purpose behind the event is to promote the donation awareness program,” she said. “Yeah, we’re going to raise some money, but it’s about letting people know that there are people waiting.”
Several Hawkeye football players past and present were on hand to help promote the event, including offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga, kicker Daniel Murray, wide receivers Kyle Steinbrecher and Steven Staggs, and former tight end Brandon Myers, who recently signed with the Oakland Raiders.

Myers said he enjoyed the event so much the past few years, he had to come back.

“It’s a great event,” he said “It’s a good way to raise money, and I like to do what I can to help out. If it’s coming here, and signing some autographs, and meeting some people, it’s what I can do.”

The “Voice of the Hawkeyes” Dolphin also graced the green. An MC of the event in years past, he looks at this as an opportunity to raise awareness about organ donation.

“I do a number of charitable events throughout the summer and the fall, and this is one of my favorites for a lot of reasons,” he said. “If you’re an organ donor, you can immediately save eight lives; 50 people could be affected positively.

“That’s the real reason I like supporting this event, is that it has such a ripple effect.”

Dolphin was grateful Hawkeye football players joined him, considering their busy off-season workouts, classes, and jobs.

“I think it speaks volumes for a guy such as Bryan Bulaga,” Dolphin said. “Here’s a guy, depending on what publication you read, could be the first offensive lineman to go in the draft next year, if he comes out early. I’m selfish — hopefully, he doesn’t. For guys who are high profile or low profile, they come over and support this event, and we’re very appreciative.”

Burdakin said she knew the players and Dolphin were the right spokesmen for her cause.

“We decided with his personality, he really knows how to motivate people, and he strongly believes in organ donation,” she said. Also, a lot of people like to see the Hawkeyes when they’re not in their pads and helmets.”

Burdakin received her kidney from a young man whose parents, Suzan and Eugene Toth, volunteered at the event. Their son Steven died after a car accident.

“Steven wanted to help others,” Burdakin said. “He was a caring and loving person and always wanted to be an organ donor.”

She knew Steven’s life didn’t fall short of his ultimate goal of helping people.

“It’s a tragedy that he’s no longer with us, but he did affect a lot of lives,” she said.

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