In 2013, when energy industry entrepreneur Billy Brown received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, he faced the news with a business approach and did his research. After investigating his options, he turned to MD Anderson for treatment and sought the care of John Davis, M.D., associate professor of Urology and director of the Urosurgical Prostate Program. Cancer-free six years after surgery, Brown makes it a priority to give back to the institution that saved his life and help other men understand the importance of early detection.
“I chose to go to MD Anderson because of Dr. Davis’s reputation as one of the country’s top surgeons specializing in robotic surgical techniques,” says Brown. “He did a great job, along with all the staff at
MD Anderson. I can’t say enough about how everybody was so nice and polite during the entire experience.”
Following the successful surgery, Brown, who lives in Sugar Land, Texas, with his wife, Tammy, and two children, felt compelled to support prostate cancer research at MD Anderson, including his surgeon’s work in the area of prostate cancer surveillance. Increasingly fascinated by immunotherapy’s impact in the fight against cancer, he also turned his interests to research led by Michael Curran, Ph.D., associate professor of Immunology, who focuses on immunotherapy options for prostate cancer.
Brown decided to host a fundraiser at his 1,300-acre private sporting club, the Big Easy Ranch in Columbus, Texas. He established the Billy Brown Charitable Foundation and assembled a board of advisers who share his dedication to raising funds and prostate cancer awareness. The inaugural Big Easy Ranch Shoot Out, a golf tournament, clay shoot, dinner and auction held in April 2018, attracted 80 participants and raised $180,000.
“My goal was not only to encourage all the participants to have a great time but also to spread awareness of the importance of early detection in men through annual PSA testing after age 50,” says Brown. “I felt that I needed to do something to help men know that if you catch prostate cancer early, you can beat it.”
Thanks to the active participation and support of Big Easy Ranch members and the generosity of sponsors Calvetti Ferguson, Ace Energy Solutions and Alliant Employee Benefits, this year’s event exceeded expectations, raising more than $205,000.
“We are making this an annual event every April and hope one day this research can eliminate prostate cancer with early detection,” says Brown. “This year was unbelievable, and we’re excited about the prospect of raising even more funds next year.”