You don’t meet many myeloma patients at golf tournaments benefiting the IMF. So when a team captained by Dr. Steven Johnson—a myeloma patient—won the 6th annual “J.C.” Golf Tournament in St. Cloud, MN on May 21, 2005, it became sort of a “man bites dog” kind of story.
That…and the weather. This was the second year in a row I participated. It was the second year in a row the weather broadcasters predicted continuous rain and occasional thunderstorms; the second year in a row that it rained right up to the beginning of the tournament; and the second year in a row that the promised rain held off for the entire round. For some reason, despite satellite pictures to the contrary, rain seems to stay away from the “J.C.” Golf Tournament. I’ll leave it to you to draw conclusions.
This year 180 golfers and 50 volunteers and dinner guests celebrated the life of “J.C.” Johnson and enjoyed a wonderful day of camaraderie. Taken together with this year’s contribution of at least $20,000, the “J.C.” Golf Tournament donations to the IMF are now approaching a total of $100,000. Next year’s tournament promises to be just as successful—at least we know the weather will allow play.
Steven Johnson’s (no relation to “J.C.”) team score of 15 under par easily won this year’s tournament. “Playing in the tournament gave me a confidence boost,” said Steven, “I hadn’t played for a while but I’ve played four times since the tournament [two weeks ago], broken 90 twice and have gone back to work in my dental office. I’m not walking 18 holes—yet—and only working half days, but with the grace of God I’ll continue to get my strength and endurance back.”
Steven found out about the tournament after reading an announcement in Myeloma Today. But much more important than the win is the story of how Steven came to participate. Steven, a dentist for the Army Reserve, was called up to active duty in July 2003 and was found to be anemic following a routine blood donation. That, as many myeloma patients know too well, eventually led to diagnosis in December 2003.
Coincidentally, Steven’s sister-in-law has a father who was diagnosed with smoldering myeloma more than 30 years ago. He was diagnosed and treated by Dr. Robert Kyle at the Mayo clinic. His case has not developed into active myeloma.
Steven’s journey is one too many in our community have been through: the shock of diagnosis; attending an IMF seminar (in Minneapolis in March 2004); attending a local support group meeting; working with his personal oncologist to decide on tandem transplants (with his sister as a donor); and now charting a path for the future.
Steve’s future includes more golf, getting back in the office to treat patients, and defending his team’s championship at next year’s “J.C.” Tournament.
The organizers of the tournament and the IMF are grateful to everyone for contributing to our success including Anton’s Restaurant for providing more than 230 free prime rib dinners to all the participants, Miller Auto Plaza for furnishing a car in the hole-in-one competition (next year, next year), and the legendary band “Canoise” for entertaining everyone late into the night.