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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kyra Phillips Charity Event

From the Atlantic Journal Constitution:

On the day CNN anchor Kyra Phillips was born, her grandfather won a golf tournament and brought the trophy to the hospital as a gift for his infant granddaughter.
Some of Phillips' earliest memories are of riding in a golf cart with her granddad, Ken Mangan, who loved the game almost as much as his granddaughter.
"I have a picture of me when I was about 3 years old with plastic golf clubs," said Phillips, who anchors the afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon, and recently has been in Baghdad.
Phillips' parents divorced when she was 4 and Mangan easily slipped into the paternal role. He taught her to play golf, advised her on everything from boys to school, and gave her away at her wedding in 2000. But even then, he was starting to falter.
"He started losing his memory. He thought he had Alzheimer's," Phillips said. "He got really depressed. He kept it from us."
Three weeks after he finally told Phillips something was wrong, he died of a brain tumor.
That same year, 2001, Phillips heard about a golf tournament to help the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children and sponsored a hole in her grandfather's name.
"Grandfather was a teacher for the deaf and loved kids," Phillips said. "It's a perfect fit for him."
The next year, Phillips was named honorary chairwoman of the tournament, called the J. Smith Lanier & Co. Charity Classic to Benefit the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children. Last year she joined the foundation's board of directors.
"Kyra has just been fantastic," said Mary Campbell, executive director of the foundation. "She's been so supportive, not only with the golf tournament but doing [public service announcements], and she's great with the kids. She visits them in the hospital, she sends them cards and letters. They all love her."
Campbell said the foundation provides emotional and financial support to families whose children are being treated for brain tumors. It also supports research. The golf tournament being held May 8 at Chateau Elan in Braselton is its largest fund-raiser. Phillips, who still keeps a "Grandpa's room" in her home filled with mementos from Mangan's life, said she's proud that she can help the tournament grow as a way to honor her grandfather.
"He was the first one to hold me, and I was in the hospital room when he died," Phillips said. "We had an amazing connection."

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