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Shida Winner of Inaugural David Toms Award

NORMAN, Okla. – Billy Shida of Georgia College has been named recipient of the inaugural David Toms Award. The Toms Award is presented to a men’s collegiate golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve collegiate excellence. Finalists for the award included Zack Byrd of Coastal Carolina, R.J. Schwalbach of Benedictine University (Ill.) and Colorado’s Derek Tolan.

“Congratulations to Billy for winning the award,” said Toms. “He has shown a great deal of perseverance to overcome illness and other personal issues to not only excel on the golf course, but the classroom as well. He is a great role model for a lot of his peers in collegiate golf. I know great things are ahead of Billy in his future and I wish him the best.”

In addition to the adjustments that every college freshmen must overcome - especially when competing in intercollegiate athletics, Shida faced family difficulties his first season at Georgia College. Shida worked hard at improving both his mental well-being and golf game that spring and began to see a psychologist. He eventually made his way back into the lineup and competed in both regionals and the NCAA Championships.

In late July between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Shida began suffering from fatigue and body pain. He went through a battery of tests, but doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause. In August Shida was diagnosed with Lyme disease. He underwent three weeks of anti-bacterial treatment and was forced to stay indoors during treatment.

A few weeks later, Shida developed a swollen lymph node on his neck near his clavicle. It was in the same location he had lymph nodes removed when he was 12 years old. During surgery to remove the lymph node, two other affected lymph nodes were located and removed. All three were later found to be benign.

Leading up to the surgery, he also began to suffer from prominent back pain. Trainers at Georgia College felt it might be connected to his bout with Lyme disease and directed Shida to see a Lyme disease specialist. After running tests it was found he had chronic Lyme disease. Chronic Lyme disease occurs if Lyme disease is not treated within a year. Shida underwent an aggressive treatment during last summer and fall and his Lyme disease is now in remission.

“Receiving this award has been a nice culmination to the healing process,” said Shida. “After I got the call informing me about the award, it took awhile for it to sink in. For so long I downplayed everything. Once it sank in it really was an honor to receive the award because it helped me understand what I’ve endured and how far I’ve come with my health and as a person.”