With two holes in one under his belt by age 23, Clint Barsch loved the game of golf. Today, his passion for the sport lives on through an annual golf tournament that raises funds and awareness for MD Anderson's Glioblastoma Moon Shot™.
In 2002, Barsch, then 21, had a seizure and was told by doctors in Austin that he likely had a cancerous tumor and wouldn't live much longer. He moved home to Odessa to be with his parents, Sherry and Calvin Johnson. A physician there suggested Barsch go to MD Anderson for a consultation.
That fall, they met with Amy Heimberger, M.D., professor of Neurosurgery, who told the family she could operate. They scheduled a date in December for the surgery, which revealed Barsch had an astrocytoma. Radiation and chemotherapy soon followed.
"Dr. Heimberger was so good about explaining everything that needed to be done," says Jackson. "The people at MD Anderson really make the difference."
Barsch remained healthy for nine years and had regular checkups at MD Anderson. In April 2012, his neuro-oncologist saw questionable spots on his scans. This time it was a glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer. Heimberger successfully removed it from his frontal lobe.
Barsch embraced a will to live - not wanting to know his fate, he never asked. He died at age 32 in April 2014, but not without a fight.
"We're so grateful to MD Anderson and Clint's doctors, as they gave him 12 more years of life," says Jackson. "MD Anderson is amazing. From the doctors to the social workers and the caregivers, there's always someone there to show they care."
The Jackson family, including Clint's brother, Blake, and Blake's wife, Stacey, started the Clint Barsch Foundation soon after he died to help find a cure for glioblastoma.
"In Clint's honor, we held a golf tournament in April 2015, with 108 teams raising $10,000 for the Glioblastoma Moon Shot," says Jackson. "In 2016, 104 teams raised another $10,000."
She acknowledges there are many volunteers, donors and sponsors who have helped with planning, setting up and supporting the golf tournaments in Andrews, near Odessa - in particular, Mark Oliver and Joann Lawson, two friends who have made a significant impact.
"We couldn't do it without their time, expertise and service," says Jackson.