Larry Fournier was afflicted with polio at the age of 10 months, leaving him paralyzed in both legs, the back and upper right arm. Doctors told him he would never walk. He could not even sit down without great pain.
Now the only handicap Fournier has is a 12 in golf. He will play in the $12,000-added Sheraton Washington Easter Seals Golf Classic Saturday and Sunday at Prince Georges Country Club. Charlie Boswell, winner of 17 national blind golfers' championships and a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, also will participate.
Fournier has undergone moer than 30 operations, including fusion of his left leg and amputation of the toes on one foot. He credits eight weeks at an Easter Seals camp as a youngster for dramatically changing his attitude toward his disability.
Fournier took up golf in 1971 and has competed in 100 tournaments. He lays aside his crutches and smacks the ball more the 200 yards. And scores in the low 80s.
The newest member of the National Easter Seals Sports Council, Fournier is anxious to share his philosophy with an estimated 15 million disabled persons.
"I want to inspire and encourage people so that they can enjoy golf and other sports," he said. "Even though you are handicapped, you cannot let life pass you by."
Fournier twice has won the national wheelchair table tennis tournament and has participated in the wheelchair Olympics in his home state of Maine, swimming, throwing the javelin and lifting weights.
First Lady Nancy Reagan is chairman of the "Elegance in Black and White" dinner on Friday, the eve of the tournament, at the Sheraton Washington, with Marvin Hamlisch the headline entertainer.
The pro winner of the golf tournament will earn about $2,000, with $450 to the seniors champion.