WILLSBORO - In July 2008, Willsboro residents Josh and Melanie Palmer learned that their unborn child's life was hanging in the balance.
The male child, who they named Bryce Edward, was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal defect that is incompatible with life.
Also known as Edwards Syndrome, Trisomy 18 occurs in about 1 of every 3,000 births. Half of babies carried to term with the defect will be stillborn, while most others never survive long enough to leave the hospital.
The Palmers were determined to give Bryce his best chance at life, however, and on November 24, 2008, he was born weighing just four and a half pounds.
"We fell extremely blessed that Bryce beat all odds and we were able to spend 28 wonderful days with him," said Melanie. "Even though he was here for only a short time he touched so many lives."
On June 6, friends and family of the Palmers will hold the first annual Bryce Edward Palmer Trisomy 18 Scramble for the Cause Golf Tournament to benefit the Trisomy 18 Foundation, an organization that the Palmers have relied on for support through this difficult time.
Family friend Eric Arnold had organized a similar tournament each year for the past decade to support Clinton Community College's Athletics programs.
"I have stepped down as a coach at the college, but wanted to continue the tournament with a different beneficiary," said Arnold, "and I thought what better cause than the Trisomy 18 Foundation which helped Bryce and his parents."
The four-person scramble event will be held at Willsboro Golf Club with shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The entry fee includes 18 holes of golf, cart, cash prizes, individual contest and food and beverage throughout the day.
The event will also feature a silent auction with donated items, such as a one night stay at the Mirror Lake Inn, A two night stay at the Golden Arrow Hotel, Custom made Adirondack Furniture, hand made crafts, and many gift certificates to local restaurants.
"We look at this golf tournament as a chance to get together with our friends and family, and honor Bryce in a positive light, because he still is our pride and joy," said Melanie.
Although there is no cure for Trisomy 18, Melanie hopes that the foundation's research can lead to prevention methods and that they can continue to support families who have to endure the diagnosis.
"We feel strongly about giving back to the foundation because they have given us so much," she added. "There were times we were told Bryce would probably not make it to birth or be able to ever come home but the foundation gave us hope and resources to prepare for him."
The fee is $60 for non-members and $50 for members. Space is limited and available on a first-come-first-serve basis by calling Eric Arnold at 963-4176 or 578-4707. Donations of auction items or hole sponsorship are still being accepted.
To learn more about the Palmers and how to contribute to the Trisomy 18 foundation, visit www.trisomy18.org/goto/bryce.palmer