Just two years ago as the Masters took place, Marc Leishman was worried about his wife, Audrey Hills, hanging on to live. Marc’s wife suffered from sepsis, and ended up in the hospital as Marc was practicing for the Masters. Audrey spoke to Golf Digest about defying the odds.
“There was a long time where I wasn’t sure if I was always going to be sick or if I was ever going to get better,” Audrey told Golf Digest. “To be here, it really is hard to put into words.”
Years later Audrey was given a clean bill of health, and her husband is competing for his first green jacket at the Masters. Marc is originally from Australia, but met Audrey at a dive bar while he was in the United States for a golf tournament.
Learn more about Audrey’s illness and their three children.
1. Doctors Gave Audrey a 5-Percent Chance to Live After She Suffered Toxic Shock Syndrome & Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
In 2015, Marc rushed to a hospital from a practice at Augusta to be by his wife’s side. Two years later, Marc was in contention at the 2018 Masters, and his wife has a clean bill of health. There were days when it was not clear how much longer Audrey would live. Audrey suffered toxic-shock syndrome which Golf Digest called a “rare, life-threatening complication of certain bacterial infections.”
Audrey was induced into a coma for four days as the doctors tried to find out why Audrey was so sick. According to Golf Digest, she also suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome “which occurs when fluid builds up in the small, elastic air sacs in the lungs.” This prevents oxygen from getting to the rest of the body’s organs.
“It was your worst nightmare,” Audrey told Golf Digest. “They went through their nightmare when I was in my coma, and when I woke up it was a big relief for them and that’s when my nightmare started. That’s when I realized what happened to me, and how sick I really was…There was a long time where I wasn’t sure if I was always going to be sick or if I was ever going to get better.”
Audrey was given a clean bill of health in the fall of 2016, but she had many health complications along the way prior to being cleared.
2. The Couple Started the Begin Again Foundation to Help Families Who Are Experiencing Medical & Life Criseses
When you experience a situation like Marc and Audrey did, it changes things. The couple’s wild ride prompted them to try to give back to families who are in similar situations to the one Audrey faced, but financially may not be able to pay for the medical bills. Marc and Audrey started the Begin Again Foundation as a way to address these families needs.
“We were lucky we were in a situation where the medical bills didn’t break us,” Marc told the USA Today. “It can break you as a family. And a lot of families don’t have that. When you’re going through something like that, you don’t want to be thinking about money, you’re thinking about your loved one.”
According to USA Today, the foundation has already helped 700 families. Marc handed out ribbons for other golfers to wear at the BMW Championship as a way to raise awareness for sepsis, and ended up winning the tournament.
3. Marc Met Audrey at a Bar When He Was in Town For a Golf Tournament
According to USA Today, Marc met Audrey in 2007 when he was trying to move up the ranks to become a professional golfer. Marc ran into Audrey at a bar while he was in town for a tournament, and decided to stay in the area a little longer.
“There weren’t many people in the bar,” Marc told USA Today. “It wasn’t a great bar…I lived out of hotels. I’d be in a Motel 6 or a Super 8. You spend as little as possible. If you miss the qualifier, if it was a good town you’d stay there. If it was not a great town, you’d go to the next one and look for the party scene. I stayed there because of that first date.”
4. The Couple Has 3 Children & Marc Calls His Most Recent Daughter a “Miracle Baby”
Audrey and Marc have their hands full with three children: Harvey, Oliver and Eva. Their daughter came at a time when the couple did not expect to be able to have children because of Audrey’s health.
“It was unlikely we were ever going to have more kids and it looked like I wasn’t even going to have a wife there for a while, so we call her own miracle baby,” Marc told The Courier. “To have a little girl and really complete our family has been great.”
5. Marc Noted He Would Have Given Up Golf to Raise the Children if Audrey Had Died
Marc was prepared to give up golf if Audrey did not recover to focus on being a father.
“If Audrey had have passed away, I was going to be a dad and that was it,” Marc told Golf Digest. “It didn’t cross my mind to keep playing golf.”
Even after surviving her initial scare, it has been a long road to recovery. Golf Digest detailed Audrey’s additional medical complications.
For a year-and-a-half she battled various respiratory infections. A year ago at Bay Hill, she was hospitalized after falling ill and had to be pumped full of steroids and intravenous fluid. Then last May, she underwent a tonsillectomy and spent most of the summer downing antibiotics.