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Vol. LXV, No. 13
June 21, 2013
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Teenage Cancer Patient Excels at Charity Golf Tourney

17-year-old golfer Michael Bruhn listens to NIH director Dr. Francis Collins address the post-tournament lunch at Argyle Country Club.

17-year-old golfer Michael Bruhn listens to NIH director Dr. Francis Collins address the post-tournament lunch at Argyle Country Club.

The fourth annual golf tournament to benefit the Friends of the Clinical Center had a surprising entrant on May 6 at Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring.

Michael Bruhn, a 17-year-old leukemia patient at the Clinical Center, earned a spot on a foursome, owing to his love of the game and his experience on his high school golf team. Caregivers not only permitted his participation, but also supplied him with a set of golf clubs.

“I contacted Michael’s mom and let her know that we could provide a set of clubs for him to use and that our own board member, Diane Baker (wife of NIH director Dr. Francis Collins) would be able to pick the Bruhns up in the morning and give them a ride to the tournament,” said Heidi Grolig, FOCC executive director.

“We were happy to sponsor a spot for Michael with one of the foursomes,” Grolig continued. “We weren’t sure until the day before the tournament if he would be well enough to play.” The tournament included a group of FOCC supporters from the local business community, she said, and numbered some 60 golfers.

“We were very thankful that Michael was able to join us that day,” Grolig said. “And little did we know what a wonderful golfer he is—and all around wonderful young man.”

Although Bruhn made his high school golf team back home in Oregon, he has not been able to play much because of his illness and treatment. His mom, Kimberly, also attended the tournament, assisting volunteers at the day-long event.

Collins (l) and Heidi Grolig, FOCC executive director, pose with winning golf team members (from l) Bruhn, Chase Bertke and Tom Bertke.

Collins (l) and Heidi Grolig, FOCC executive director, pose with winning golf team members (from l) Bruhn, Chase Bertke and Tom Bertke.

“We teamed up Michael with Tom Bertke from IBM global business services and his son Chase Bertke,” said Grolig. “The three had a great day and really bonded with Michael. Michael was the first person to win at the ‘beat the coach’ hole.” Bruhn’s team won the tournament with a score of 59.

Collins arrived at the course around 3 p.m. to greet the golfers at lunch and meet many of FOCC’s supporters. He also spoke with Bruhn and his mother and gave a talk about the work done at NIH.

Grolig said that donations and sponsorships at all FOCC events help patients by relieving them of financial stress, allowing them to continue in research and treatment at the Clinical Center.


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