Mac was only 11 weeks old when Dr. John Lambert of the San Diego Children's Hospital performed open heart surgery on her. This was one of two open heart surgeries, the second performed when Mackinzie was 23 months old.
In March of 2002 MacKinzie Jean Kline was nominated as the Children's Heart Foundation's National Spokesperson. At ten years old, MacKinzie Kline began to dedicate much of her life to raising money for the foundation. In five years, Mac raised $1,000,000 to help other kids with heart defects!Recently, Mac also won the Arete Honors for courage in sports award. She calls the award "astonishing" and feels very proud to have beaten the odds against her.
I recently interviewed Mac and wanted to know how she overcame her physical obstacles to become a promising young professional golfer at a very young age.
"You have to make sure you are having fun playing golf. After that, it takes a lot of time and discipline. You have to make a commitment from the very start," she explained.
Mac attends a Charter School called Pacific View in Oceanside, California two days a week. She spends the rest of her time on the golf courses and raising money for the Children's Heart Foundation.
"My social life is hard to keep up with. I am a big texting girl. I love to text, and that is what my friends do too. Since I now have a license, on the weekend I am able to hang with them for about an hour," she said.
When she recently played in the Nokia Challenge Professional Golf Match on a team with the golfer she admires most, Anika Sorenstram (#1 ranked women's golfer), in the country she was in for a surprise. Ms. Sorenstram invited Mac to join her at a LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) event.
"Golf is much harder than many people think. For a kid it requires extreme concentration, and discipline and you have to block everything else out of your mind, but concentrating on your shot. But, I love golf and being outdoors and in such beautiful, lush environments, and the people in the golf community have been so nice to me,“ she explained.
Mac says the woman professional golfers in the LPGA have been very supportive and encouraging and no one makes a big deal about her age.
Mac rides in a golf cart for most of her tournaments because it is too much of an effort on her heart to walk around the courses as other competitive golfers do.
"About ten years ago, Casey Martin was a golfer who went to court against the United States Golf Association and won the rights for golfers like me to ride in a golf cart because we can't walk around the courses. He paved the way for young golfers like me," she explained.
Her parents, and friends have been very supportive and been with her in all her tournaments which involved travel and expense. Mac says her close friends aren't golfers and she keeps the golf world separate from her social life.
Mac's new goal is to raise $2,000,000 for the Children’s Heart Foundation, and to continually improve her chances of being a professional woman golfer and playing in the LPGA when she is 18 years old (age requirement for membership).
Mac loves to work with people from all backgrounds and is a very social, outgoing young woman. She would like to be a professional golfer and television sports commentator in the future.
As far as advice for young people with a cause, she points out her Children's Heart Foundation she is passionate.
"Find a cause you really believe in...you just have to have the passion and interest...You can help by donating time, ideas or money. You will feel great about it after you just go out and do it, she concluded.