Former Wildcats come home for good cause

July 12, 2009
Former Wildcats come home for good cause
by Joel Jellison jjellison@themercury.com

Former Kansas State lineman Eric Wolford accomplished two things this weekend - raised money for his foundation and enjoyed a small reunion with some former Wildcats teammates.

Wolford, who played at K-State from 1989-93, and his wife Melinda welcomed past players back this weekend for the first Wildcats Legends for Charity Golf Classic at Colbert Hills Golf Course.

The weekend started with a auction and pairing party at Kite's Bar and Grill on Friday night, with proceeds benefiting the Wolford's No Stone Unturned Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manhattan and the Mike Ahearn Scholarship Fund at K-State.

The Wolford family started it's foundation after learning their 3-year-old son Stone had Cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, or CFC Syndrome.

CFC Syndrome is a rare and serious genetic disorder that effects the heart, lungs, and often carries neurological disorders as well. The disease wasn't discovered until the 1980s, and the Wolfords learned their son had it when he was 2.

Melinda told the crowd that she and her husband knew something was wrong with Stone, very early on.

"When Stone was born, I knew pretty quickly, that there was something different with him," she said, "and after about 40 specialists we could not find the answer, and every time I would go back they would tell me something else was wrong."

The foundation is a 501 nonprofit organization that was started to help other families by providing support, and to help in research of children's health initiatives.

"We wanted to make a difference by helping other people with kids with neurological differences," Melinda said, "because it's a lonely difficult path to go down by yourself."

Eric told the crowd at Kite's the event wasn't meant to be just a charity auction and golf tournament, but a way for old friends and teammates to meet up once again.

"When we decided to put this thing together, we talked about 'I haven't seen you in five years, or I haven't seen you in 10,' and that's a crime," said Wolford, who coaches at the University of South Carolina. "Life is too short and we have something to be proud of because we have a brand, and that's Kansas State."

K-State football coach Bill Snyder, who coached the majority of the nearly two-dozen players who returned for the event, promised the crowd that the charity event, which plans to become an annual one, will continue to grow and be bigger in the coming years.

"I want to insure you that we will make this something really, really special over a period of time," Snyder said. "And we will get everyone back."

Friday's auction included numerous signed sports memorabilia, including items signed by former K-State players, and a live auction that featured three big-ticket items.