Like many of us, every morning Kentlands resident Nicole Gottesmann puts her son Gabe on the bus and waves goodbye as he heads off to school. Almost a decade ago when she found out she was expecting Gabe, she could never have imagined what life would be like for their family today.
When Nicole was only 12 weeks pregnant in 2008, her husband, Seth, passed away unexpectedly. The two were college sweethearts and married for only three-and-a-half years when Nicole found herself alone with a baby on the way. Gabe was born the following July, a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy just like his dad. As the months passed, Nicole started noticing some issues with Gabe’s development and at 18 months old, her toddler son was diagnosed with autism.
Today at nine years old, Gabe is non-verbal and has significant issues common with autism including sleep disruption interfering behaviors. While autism prevalence rates continue to rise—the most recent CDC findings report 1 in 59 children in the United States have autism—therapies are expensive and generally not covered by insurance.
Additionally, parents are left to navigate the labyrinth of doctors and treatments alone, often relying on the experience and guidance of other parents. Trying to determine the right course and best options for your child is difficult and even more challenging when you are a single parent. Fortunately, it helps when you have loving and supportive people
to rally around you when you need it the most.
After Seth passed away, his closest friends organized a golf tournament to honor his memory, and Nicole Gottesmann will always be grateful. “His best friends Eric Seward, Willy Moore and John Pannucci decided right away to organize the Seth Gottesmann
Memorial Shootout Golf Tournament, an annual event that would memorialize Seth,” she explained. “Knowing I was a 29-year-old widow pregnant with Gabe, they wanted to do something that was not just going to be a fun event to remember Seth, but one
that would help our son who was now left fatherless.”
On Oct. 12, friends and family will gather again at the P.B. Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville to participate in the 10th Annual Seth Gottesmann Memorial Shootout. All funds raised at this event benefit the special needs trust set up for Gabe. The trust will help to provide Gabe with the services that he needs today as well as in the future.
Gottesmann said, “When Gabe was diagnosed with autism two years after the tournament started, the money raised became even more necessary for us due to financial aspect of his needs. It has helped pay for the endless therapies Gabe has had
as a result of his diagnosis. It’s extremely emotional for me to see so many of Seth’s and my friends and family come together to celebrate his life, and I could not be more grateful to these incredible men. They spend so much of their time putting this event
together. Seth would be so proud of what his friends have done for him and for us. It means so much to me, Gabe and the entire Gottesmann family. Seth’s legacy lives on.”
P.B. Dye General Manager and Head Pro Jon LeSage said that while the club hosts many wonderful and varied events every year, the Seth Gottesmann Shootout is one of the most special.
“It’s such a family event and everyone is so close,” LeSage said. “The vibe is good
and people are ready to have a good time. His memory lives on and it’s very special.
Everyone has a great time.”
According to the event’s website, the shootout “will be played as 4-person scramble, with prizes for the winning teams, longest drive, and closest to the pin. The entry fee of $150 covers lunch, a round of golf, dinner and drinks with a view of Sugarloaf Mountain, and a
chance to win raffle prizes. If you’re interested in registering yourself, a four-some, donating or becoming a sponsor, visit the tournament website at www.sggolftournament.com.