Golf tournament a labor of love

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | August 19, 2014

Image with caption: Part of the Jimmy Hank's Holes for Hope team hold a poster that represents a $10,000 check they presented to go toward cancer research and causes. From left to right: Craig Navickas, Kaitlin Brau, M.D., Kyle Brau, Richard Hankins, M.D., and Mitchell Hiatt.

Part of the Jimmy Hank's Holes for Hope team hold a poster that represents a $10,000 check they presented to go toward cancer research and causes. From left to right: Craig Navickas, Kaitlin Brau, M.D., Kyle Brau, Richard Hankins, M.D., and Mitchell Hiatt.

Kyle and Kaitlin Brau were planning their wedding, buying a house, and Kaitlin was in the process of moving to Omaha to begin a residency in internal medicine at UNMC.

They also were planning a golf tournament.

In 2012, one year after Kyle's father died of eye cancer that spread to his liver, Kyle, Dr. Brau and friends, including Richard Hankins, M.D. -- one of Kaitlin's fellow UNMC residents -- held their first tournament in memory of Kyle's father.

For more information about the tournament, click here.

Jimmy Hank's Holes for Hope

Kyle's dad was diagnosed with the disease about six years ago. His eye was removed; physicians thought the cancer was gone. But a few years later they found cancer in his liver. A few months after that, the 52-year-old died.

Kyle and Kaitlin didn't know how to organize a golf tournament. All they knew was they had to do it.

"We wanted to do something for my dad's memory and for a good cause," Kyle said. "We decided on a golf scramble because we really enjoyed playing golf together."

With the help of friends -- a lawyer to put the 501c3 organization together, a tech guy for the website, friends to spread the word -- Jimmy Hank's Holes for Hope tournament was born.

"A lot of time it's your family and friends playing," Kyle said. "It's been a lot of work getting sponsors, prizes, getting the word out about the tournament to get participants. The event itself is a lot of fun. Seeing the results is rewarding."

More than $20,000 raised

Their efforts are paying off. About 100 participate every year in the tournament -- now in its third year. Through their organization, Nebraska Foundation for Cancer Research, they presented a check for $10,000 raised during this year's tournament to be used for cancer research at UNMC, as well as funds for the American Cancer Society and a scholarship fund for individuals whose families have been affected by cancer.

To date they've raised more than $20,000.

The tournament, typically held in mid-June, will be moved to springtime next year to avoid major events.

Her father-in-law's death has given Dr. Kaitlin Brau a more personal look at what patients endure outside the clinic.

"To have to tell a patient they have cancer, to being there through chemo, radiation and surgery, is difficult," she said. "Having a family member with cancer gives you more insight into the struggle. Cancer is tough on patients, families and providers."

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Barbara Barrett
August 23, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Congratulations on a job well done and special accolades to my friend Kaitlin!