By Annie Oeth
UMMC Communications and Marketing
An exchange of autographed photos sparked a friendship between PGA golfer and 2021 Sanderson Farms Championship winner Sam Burns and Mary Mosley Pickering, a patient at Children’s of Mississippi.
Earlier this month, Burns, ranked 12th in the Official World Golf Rankings, was signing photos for patients during a visit to the state’s only children’s hospital. Five-year-old Mary Mosley of Philadelphia returned the favor by signing a photo of herself for Burns.
The two hit it off, so the Sanderson Farms Championship invited her and her family to visit The Country Club of Jackson Wednesday during the Walker’s Cay Pro-Am. The PGA TOUR shared a video of their visit on Facebook.
“Everyone we met was amazing,” said Jessica Pickering, Mary Mosley’s mom. Mary Mosley and her brother, Jackson, “loved getting to watch the golfers on the driving range during warm-ups, the golf cart tour of the course, the putt-putt course that was set up for kids, and the 360 Swing Booth videos they got to make. Mary Mosley was on cloud nine on the golf course with Sam! She felt like a movie star!”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2021, Mary Mosley is in remission but still receives treatments at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Mississippi.
“My husband, Blake, and I heard those words that no parent wants to ever hear: ‘Your child has cancer.’ I can attest that there is no better place to be if you have to hear those dreaded words than Children’s of Mississippi. From that day forward, we have had the most amazing care. The physicians, nurses and entire staff at Children’s of Mississippi have all become part of our family.”
Burns said touring Children’s of Mississippi was “an amazing experience.”
“To see what they do for children around Mississippi was incredible,” he said. “Children’s of Mississippi has a huge impact on so many children’s lives and their families, so it was really special for me to see behind the scenes what goes on.”
Mary Mosley is “an awesome little girl,” Burns said. “The way that she looks at life just puts a smile on everybody’s face. She’s had more of an impact on me than I’ve had on her. She always finds a way to make people around her enjoy life more.”
The Sanderson Farms Championship has been a major supporter of Children’s of Mississippi. Since Sanderson Farms, now Wayne-Sanderson Farms, became title sponsor of the event, nearly $15 million has been donated to Friends of Children’s Hospital, a nonprofit that raises funds to benefit Children’s of Mississippi.
“It’s so much bigger than golf,” Burns said. “Through the PGA TOUR, we’re able to have huge impacts on communities. To be able to see that first-hand here in Jackson is pretty awesome.”