CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tadd Fujikawa held a ceremonial check for $5,500 yesterday during a news conference at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Fujikawa was giving back to the hospital where he was born three months premature. Also pictured were AIG Hawaii President and CEO Robin Campaniano and the center's chief operating officer, Martha Smith.
Teen golfer gives back to hospital
Although he has yet to receive his first check as a professional golfer, Tadd Fujikawa had no qualms about handing one out yesterday.
The 16-year-old Moanalua High School junior, who has no official endorsement deals, teamed with AIG Hawaii to give a $5,500 check to the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
Since becoming a professional in August, Fujikawa has yet to make a cut in any event he has entered. That mattered little to him.
"Some of it came from a Key of Life special that me and Stephanie Kono did," Fujikawa said. "It's to give back to Kapiolani Medical Center, because they really helped me a lot when I was born."
The 5-foot-1 Fujikawa was born 3 1/2 months premature at Kapiolani -- weighing just 1 pound, 15 ounces -- and beat the odds to survive.
Back in June 2006, when he became the youngest competitor ever at the U.S. Open, he was already making sure to thank the Kapiolani doctors and nurses for their efforts in saving him 15 years before.
He met several of those same nurses yesterday with his father, Derrick, and mother, Lori.
"It's something that I've been waiting and wanting to do for a long time," Fujikawa said.
Kapiolani's Mavis Nikaido, associate director of pediatric critical care, accepted the check from Fujikawa and AIG President Robin Campaniano with a smile.
Fujikawa will play in the Casio World Open later this month and said he hopes to gain a sponsor's exemption for the 2008 Sony Open in January, the site of his favorite golf moment thus far in his career.