AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – On Monday, May 1st, the Piedmont Augusta Foundation is hosting the 37th annual Jernigan Golf Tournament.

The event is taking place at Woodside Plantation Country Club in Aiken.

“The Jernigan was named for Mr. Harry W. Jernigan Jr. who was a longtime trustee of our hospital and he was the founder of the foundation in 1978. So this year as we’re coming up on our 45th anniversary of the foundation, it’s a great time to think about Mr. Jernigan and his legacy and his contributions to this community,” said President of the Piedmont Augusta Foundation Laurie Ott.

Not only is the tournament a tribute to Jernigan but it’s also a fundraiser for a good cause.

“This year the tournament benefits the stroke program. Stroke is something that’s close to a lot of us in this community. We all know someone who suffered a stroke and we want to be able to make sure that we can treat those patients in a timely manner and help save their functioning,” said Ott.

Getting money to stroke programs are important, especially here in the south east.

“Mainly it’s because of our way of living, our diet, our risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes,” said Stroke Program Manager, Kachiri Jackson.

“There are about 800,000 strokes that occur every year in America, and roughly one patient dies of a stroke every three minutes and thirty three seconds. We live in the buckle of the stroke belt, which is a high incidence of stroke in our area and so for that reason it’s important that we develop techniques and methods to treat these patients when they present to us in the emergency room,” said Neurosurgeon of Piedmont Augusta, Cargill Alleyne.

Piedmont Augusta is more than prepared to help stroke patients.

“We have a very good team of practitioners and I just don’t mean the physicians. I mean from the managers, stroke coordinators, the speech therapist, even the housekeeping staff. So as a team we pull together and serve the best needs of the patient,” said Alleyne.

And the money raised from the Jernigan Golf Tournament will only make them better.

“It helps with staff education for one and being able to treat multiple strokes that may be occurring at the same time. So one thing it could be a biplane. Right now we only have one but with the support of the Jernigan golf tournament we will be able to purchase another one. So if we have two complex stroke patients come in at the same time we can treat them,” said Jackson.

It’s not too late to sign up for the Jernigan, and currently eighty three teams are signed up to support the cause.

“It’s very encouraging and inspiring to see so many people willing to donate their time and money to such a worthy event. A big thank you for each and every one of you and we’ll hope you’ll keep giving, because you never know when it could be a family member or a friend that presents in the next week with a stroke, so we appreciate everything you do for us,” said Alleyne.