Funds raised go to kidney cancer research
By David Webb
KEMP–Retired firefighter Tom Green considered himself to be fit and healthy in 2009 when he noticed blood in his urine while on a vacation with his wife, Judy, in Canada in 2009.
Less than three years later, he died after losing a battle with an aggressive kidney cancer.
“He was in excellent condition,” Judy Green said. “He played golf three or four times each week. We would spend a month at a time in our RV on the road traveling. He had no idea anything was wrong.”
The retired couple decided to head home, but they stopped in Niagara Falls, where a doctor diagnosed the health problem as a prostate infection and prescribed antibiotics. In Ohio, he became ill, and another doctor diagnosed it as a kidney infection.
A kidney specialist finally diagnosed him with a genetic form of kidney cancer that is fatal, advising him he had only two years to live. After surgery and treatment, he managed to squeeze another nine months in before he died.
Green attributed the extra time she got to spend with her husband to the treatment he received at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center under the care of oncologist Dr. James Brugarolas. Green donated his body to the medical center for research purposes.
After his death in April 2012, she established the Tom Green Memorial Golf Tournament at Cedar Creek Country Club, to help raise funds for kidney cancer research at the medical center. The third annual tournament will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, April 26-27.
The tournaments raised a total of $9,800 during the first two years, and Green said she hopes to raise $6,000 this year.
“I would like to raise a little more money each year,” Green said. “I hope to eventually get up to at least $10,000 per year. All of the money raised goes to research. We are very proud of what we have been able to raise so far.”
Green said she believes the research at the medical center has already produced results, and Kemp Independent School District Superintendent Sam Swierc said he agrees.
Doctors diagnosed him in the summer of 2010 with the same cancer that killed Green and they also gave him only two years to live.
Swierc said doctors removed his left kidney, and he underwent a rigorous treatment plan under the care of Brugarolas.
He not only is still alive almost four years later, he is thriving. The most recent scan gave him, his family, friends and associates a reason to rejoice.
“I had really good news,” Swierc said. “I’ve been declared clear of cancer.”
Swierc said he had planned to attend the golf tournament this weekend to, but he will be out of town. The superintendent said the benefit has his support and he hopes golfers will participate to help raise money for continued research that has already helped save his life.
“I feel myself to be very fortunate to have had the care and treatment I did,” Swierc said.
For information about the benefit, call (903) 498-6761.
Cedar Creek Country Club is located at 18392 Country Club Dr., Kemp, TX 75143.