The Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) will honor two tennis legends, Jack Kramer and Vic Braden, with a golf invitational at the Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, California.
The ANRF is honoring the memory of Jack Kramer and his struggle with osteoarthritis, as well as the memory of Vic Braden's sister and daughter who both struggled with lupus, an autoimmune disease that is part of the arthritis family.
Funds raised for this event will fund ongoing research for new treatments and an eventual cure for arthritis and lupus, debilitating diseases that affect more than 46 million Americans.
Tennis Great Jack Kramer
Hall of Fame tennis journalist Bud Collins once said, "From a competitor to an administrator to a broadcaster, Jack Kramer was the most important figure in the history of the game." However, what many people do not know is that Jack Kramer suffered for years with arthritis and osteoarthritis in his back and throughout his body.
"I had reached the point in 1949 that I couldn't lift my arm," said Kramer. "It was so bad that one doctor advised me to quit professional tennis and find another occupation. But cortisone and later derivatives fixed me up so well that I kept going for a number of years."
Legendary tennis coach Vic Braden, Kramer's friend for over 50 years and ANRF board member, recalls how much pain his friend was in after just winning a match. "Jack told me, 'Vic, if you put a thousand dollars on my knee right now I would not be able to reach it.' "
The drugs and therapies that prolonged his career would eventually take their toll, forcing Kramer to retire in 1954.
Renowned Tennis Coach Vic Braden
Vic Braden lost a sister and daughter to lupus and serves as a volunteer on the ANRF board of directors.
Kramer's friend, Braden, is also an icon in the tennis world. Jack called him "the world's best all-around tennis coach, who can improve the game for anyone, from a beginner to a champion."
As a world-renowned tennis coach, researcher and clinical psychologist, Braden led the way for groundbreaking techniques, psychoanalysis, teaching, commentating and playing. He and Jack were there together in the beginning of what would become the modern pro tennis tour.
Braden has analyzed or coached greats like Tracy Austin, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, Reggie Jackson and many others. He's won awards such as the USTA's Contributing Most to Tennis in America, the ATP's Children's Tennis Award, the USPTA's Coach of the Year Award and he is a member of the USTA Midwest Tennis Hall of Fame.
Apart from all of the awards, the big name stars and traveling, Vic's family life tells a different, more tragic story. Vic's baby sister, Donna, was diagnosed with lupus as a young woman. She was told that if she were to have a baby she would put herself in some danger, but she wanted to be a mother and decided to proceed. She had a little boy on Thanksgiving Day, held him one day, and then died the next day.
Compounding this tragedy, lupus struck again – this time it was Vic's daughter, Kelly. Kelly fought lupus for many years, undergoing dialysis on a daily basis. In Vic's words, "One day she called and said 'You know Dad, I just can't live like this anymore. I'm going off of dialysis today and I'll be gone in 10 days,' and on the 10th day, she died."
These are some of the heart rending stories of how lupus, arthritis and related diseases devastate lives – not only the lives of people directly affected, but the lives of family members as well.
The Kramer/Braden Golf Invitational
This golf tournament event honors the memory of Jack Kramer and his struggle with osteoarthritis, as well as the memory of Vic Braden's sister and daughter, and his pledge to help raise awareness and research funds for lupus. Finally, this event honors the incredible 50-year friendship of two giants in the world of tennis.
Taking place on Friday, October 8th, at Jack Kramer's own Los Serranos Country Club, the Kramer/Braden Golf Invitational promises to be truly unique in its blending of tennis and golf formats.
To attend this event or for more information, contact ANRF through the website, www.CureArthritis.org, or call Derek Belisle at (800) 588-CURE .
Since 1970, the Arthritis National Research Foundation has been committed to finding a cure for arthritis by funding the next generation of research scientists. For more information about the ANRF, call 800-588-CURE or visit CureArthritis.org.