A grand total of nearly €121,000 was raised at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open for Make-A-Wish Ireland, helped by the Birdies for Wishes campaign which meant that every birdie at Mount Juliet Estate’s 18th hole resulted in a €1,000 donation to the children’s charity.
Horizon came on board this year as title sponsors of the island of Ireland’s national open in a six-year deal, and subsequently appointed Make-A-Wish Ireland as the tournament’s Official Charity with the aim of raising crucial funds to grant wishes to children living with life-threatening conditions.
The Birdies for Wishes campaign was one of many fundraising initiatives across the site at the Horizon Irish Open, where Adrian Meronk made history as the first Polish player to win on the DP World Tour.
Every one of the 37 birdies at Mount Juliet’s final hole had initially resulted in a €500 donation to the charity from the DP World Tour’s Golf for Good campaign, but that figure was increased two-fold by
Horizon chairman, president and chief executive officer, Tim Walbert, who personally pledged to double that amount having spent the week at Mount Juliet in the company of the Make-A-Wish Ireland team.
Horizon then further elevated the incredible success of their first edition as title sponsors by pledging an additional €50,000 to the children’s charity, while the Pro-Am invitees collectively contributed upward of €13,000 to the cause.
Additionally, there were cash and contactless collection points across the site at the Horizon Irish Open – including at the Make-A-Wish Ireland MegaPutt Challenge and Horizon Interactive Zone in the spectator village – as fans readily contributed to the worthy cause as they learnt more about the charity.
The funds, which totalled exactly €120,706.25, will help to grant wishes to children between the ages of three and 17 years living with life threatening medical conditions. Make-A-Wish Ireland will continue to serve as the tournament’s Official Charity until 2027.
Tim Walbert said: “It was a great week at the Horizon Irish Open with our partners at Make-A-Wish Ireland. The significant amount of money raised is going to change children’s lives and make many wishes come true. I look forward to this ongoing partnership and our continued success.”
Susan McQuaid O’Dwyer, CEO of Make-A-Wish Ireland, said: “This is a wonderful result, especially for our first year in partnership with the event. It shows the potential that can be achieved over the next five years.
“These funds make a huge difference to our annual fundraising efforts and go a long way in granting truly memorable wishes for our wish children and their families. We hear time and again how the impact of a wish forms part of the treatment process and recovery. We are extremely grateful to our partner Horizon Therapeutics, the DP World Tour and all of the attendees at this year’s Horizon Irish Open, who contributed so generously to this total.”
Simon Alliss, the DP World Tour’s Championship Director for the Horizon Irish Open, said: “The 2022 Horizon Irish Open was an incredible success and we could not be more thrilled with the first chapter of our six-year partnership with both Horizon Therapeutics and Make-A-Wish Ireland.
“This partnership brought a whole new dimension to our tournament this year, not only through the fundraising initiatives but also through the life-affirming stories we have been able to tell. We look forward to helping Make-A-Wish Ireland tell more of those stories in the coming years.”
To raise the profile of Make-A-Wish Ireland’s life-changing work, Horizon and the DP World Tour also extended an invite to Peter McEnery – whose dreams came true as a 14-year-old by playing alongside Horizon and Make-A-Wish Ireland ambassador Pádraig Harrington at the 2010 Irish Open thanks to Make-A-Wish Ireland – to play once again in the Pro-Am alongside his golf hero.
McEnery, who lives with Cystic Fibrosis, was 14 years old when his wish came true to play alongside the three-time Major winner at Killarney Golf Club 12 years ago, when he also received a once-in-a-lifetime VIP experience at the historic national open.
Now 26 and a four handicap golfer, McEnery credited his experience 12 years ago through Make-A-Wish Ireland as the primary reason for his continued love of the game, and he once again relived his dream at the Pro-Am alongside Pádraig Harrington.