Sixteen-year-old Pat Dooley was a gifted athlete, but golf was his passion.
In fact, the Surrey teen would spend countless hours on the greens, fine-tuning his game, sometimes well past nightfall.
“He would play golf all day and when I would go pick him up, it would be dark and I would walk the course to find him,” recalled his dad Steve Dooley. “And he would still be playing.”
Dooley figured his son liked to be out in nature on his own and golf really fit the bill.
In January of 2008, Pat developed what seemed to be the flu.
He was studying for his final exams and began to feel sick, but he was so determined to do well in his provincial exams, he would study for a while, then vomit, then study some more – until his parents realized his condition seemed to be getting worse.
They took him to the hospital and he was admitted right away.
Pat was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a flu-like virus that attacks the brain. It’s an extremely rare condition that occurs in about one in 700,000 people.
While at the hospital, Dooley was able to convince Pat’s teachers to give him a passing grade on his provincial math exam, a decision that didn’t sit well with his son.
“I told him, ‘because you’re already getting 92 per cent in math you don’t have to write your provincial exam,’” said Dooley. “He was so mad at me, he said, ‘that’s none of your business. I’m going to write that exam when I get better’.”
Pat passed away eight days later.
Despite their tremendous loss, the Dooley family felt they needed to do something to honour their son and help others.
After graduating from high school, Pat had planned to attend the Turf Management Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Surrey, a program that seemed to mesh well with his love of golf and the outdoors.
This fall, the first recipient of the annual Pat Dooley endowment fund with be awarded $1,000 towards their tuition in the program
Eight years ago, the Dooley family began to build the fund in Pat’s honour and the KPU turf club students offered to top up the fund to the endowment level of $20,000 by organizing a golf tournament at Mayfair Lakes in Richmond in April, the course Pat called home.
The fund is designed for someone who emulates the qualities Pat had, said his dad including high integrity, being involved in the community and wanting to give back.
“At Pat’s memorial the theme was ‘Take Pat With You’ and this endowment fund is such a great example of that,” said Dooley. “Because now, eight years later, some deserving student will be taking Pat with them and living out his dream.”