A field of 130 golfers participated in the Umbrella Club's 24th annual golf outing May 5 at the Sterling Farms Golf Club in Stamford, helping the organization generate more than $30,000 toward its mission of providing compassion and support for families and children in need of medical assistance.

The day-long outing included a lunch, an afternoon of golf and an evening dinner and auction. Among the participating golfers were Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia and former Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, also of Stamford.

The beneficiaries of the golf outing were two young children with very serious medical needs.

One child is 9-year-old Claire Kenny, of Milford, who was born 14 weeks premature, and within her first hours had to undergo reconstructive airway surgery. The lack of oxygen at birth caused her to be permanently disabled. She also has Poland Syndrome, an underdevelopment of her chest muscles and a webbing of the hands. She is completely deaf and is learning sign language at St. Vincent's Special Needs Program in Trumbull, and needs around-the-clock care from her mother.

The second child is 6-year-old Ian Verrico, of Stamford, who was in kindergarten last year when he was diagnosed with Craniopharyngioma, a large tumor that took up too much space in his head. After numerous surgeries and radiation, he is home now, but further diagnostic testing will set the course for future therapy. His parents alternate between careers and caring for the child since he needs constant medical attention. He is currently attending Stillmeadow Elementary School for a few hours a day in its special education program, where he is exposed to therapy, music and contact with other people while still receiving round-the-clock care.

Stamford Hospital was the title sponsor of the golf outing this year.

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The golf outing is one of three fundraising events held by the club each year; the others are a winter raffle and a fall dinner dance. These three events generate more than $100,000 each year, all of which goes to assist families, children and organizations in need of a helping hand that cannot be found elsewhere.

The club has a membership that is limited to 50 men, primarily from the Greenwich-Stamford area, who come from varied backgrounds but are united in compassion and a dedication to lend a helping hand. Or, as Stamford's Tommy Heide, who is the club's corporate sponsorship committee co-chairman, described them, "A group of 50 men who are real softies."

Founded 35 years ago, the Umbrella Club's mission is to deliver compassion and support for community families and children in need where its help can make a difference. The members of the club understand that a quiet helping hand can make a life-changing difference for those in need. Based in Stamford, the club assists families and children in Fairfield County communities. From a rather innocent beginning when a group of friends wanted to help out a friend in need and generated a $2,500 gift, the organization now gives between $100,000 and $150,000 annually to organizations, families and especially children who are in need of a special friend.

Over the last 30 years, the Umbrella Club has donated more than $2 million dollars to families and children who would have otherwise slipped through the social services net, which for various reasons, was unable to provide assistance. Along with the children and families that have benefitted from the club's assistance, it has also provided a $250,000 gift to the Yale Pediatric Eye Care Center and a $150,000 gift to Stamford Hospital's Prenatal Unit, as well as contributions to the Greenwich Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Special Olympics, Western Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Burns Foundation, Myositis Association and the Domus House.

To learn more about the Umbrella Club, how to contribute or how to nominate someone in need, visit www.umbrellaclub.org.

caption: Among the 130 golfer participating in the 24th annual Umbrella Club Golf Outing are, from left, Umbrella Club member Christopher Gautrau of Stamford, Umbrella Club Corporate Sponsorship Committee Co-Chairman Tommy Heide of Stamford, former Lieutenant Governor Mike Fedele of Stamford, Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, New Canaan High School Principal Tony Pavia, and Umbrella Club President Bruce Moore of Stamford.