David “AtomBomb” Hendrix, the Mississippi-born poker player whose image appeared on a hoodie worn by Preston McEwen during McEwen’s 57th-place run in the 2021 WSOP Main Event, will enjoy his own trip to the WSOP in June if his friends and backers have his way. Hendrix, whose story was featured last fall here at Poker.org, now has a GoFundMe fundraiser available for interested parties to help fund his hoped-for trip to Las Vegas.
The fundraiser supporting Hendrix was launched earlier this week by his grandmother, Mary Sandlin, and though launched and maintained by Sandlin, includes text from Hendrix explaining his background. As Poker.org helped explain last November, Hendrix is afflicted with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1, a rare neuromuscular disorder that normally kills its victims before their second birthday.
Hendrix, at age 31, is currently the oldest surviving American with Type 1 SMA, the most severe of the four categories of the disease. In the fundraiser’s description, Hendrix also describes how he was granted a Make-a-Wish wish during his childhood, because of the terminal nature of his condition, but through his own health issues, it never came to be.
Hendrix turned to poker, became skilled player
Hendrix ultimately found a new love, poker. In his words: “My wish changed after I turned 14 and started learning how to play poker. That wish ultimately is why I am here. I play every day at home, but I want to go to Vegas at least once in my lifetime to experience what many of my friends experience every year. If I get to go, it will be for approximately a week. That is why my goal is set to what it is for travel, etc.
“I do not know how much longer my body can hold up because, to be honest with you, the doctors told me I would not live to be two years old. It has gotten tough to do the simplest of things like for example I can no longer even feed myself.”
The GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $5,300 of its stated $20,000 goal. “Sometimes life hits you harder than anything,” writes Hendrix,” but it’s not about how hard you get hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward! If I go to Vegas for those who choose to follow my journey, it will be at the beginning of June 2022.”
Major southern pros supporting Hendrix’s cause
Despite his health, and with the support of others, Hendrix has been able to travel to some other events in the South, but never to Las Vegas and the WSOP. He’s seen here posing in the champion’s photo after winning the opening event in the 2021 Pearl River Summer Series:
(Image source: GoFundMe / Mary Sandlin)
Gulf Coast Poker Tour founder “Wild Bill” Phillips was one of the first to bring news of the funder on Hendrix’s behalf to social media:
Please share for awareness. David is one of the most inspirational people I know and certainly a hero to poker players in the south. Please help his dreams come true this year. https://t.co/w4PaVicKK6
— Wild Bill Phillips (@GCPNet) April 19, 2022
Several prominent pros have quickly added their support for Hendrix’s campaign as well, including McEwen, Daniel “Duma” Lowery, and others. Several players have also pledged a portion of winnings from upcoming events and tour stops in support of making Hendrix’s poker “Wish” come true.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze