GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — For the last 31 years, the Bush family spends the last Saturday in July with a putter and golf ball in hand.
“We don’t know who’s going to show up,” Marge Bush said. “But boy, they do show up.”
Marge is talking about the nearly 2,000 people who passed through Loeschner’s Village Green Miniature Golf. Each took part in the Brian Bush Memorial Putt-for-Life Tournament.
“We as a family, Marge (mother) and I and Arran and Brian used to play miniature golf,” Michael Bush said. “It was easy for us. We know this is where fun is.”
Brian is Marge and Michael’s son. He died in the spring of 1989 from complications caused by cancer. He was treated at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
“It’s all because of you we’ve raised over $700,000 for St. Jude’s Hospital,” announced Michael, over the loudspeakers at Loeschner’s.
It started as a small putt-putt gathering to remember Brian. It’s grown into a community event that’s raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. It helps those children in a similar position Brian faced before he died at the age of 15.
“Eighty-five percent of the children that have medulloblastoma brain tumors are cured today of what Brian had in 1983 when he had his first brain tumor,” Michael said.
“Giving back, giving back. That’s what it’s about,” said Brian’s sister, Arran. “What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want it to be? How do you want to know your name?”
For the Bush family, that’s very clear — making a tangible difference in other kids lives while remembering Brian along the way.
“You don’t have to be good. That’s the idea of having fun,” Michael said. “‘Oh, I beat you! Oh, you didn’t get a hole in one!’ It’s the fun part. Brian is just laughing and enjoying this.”
“He would be overwhelmed. We are too, how it’s grown,” Marge added. “All these people here and how they come together.”
“Yes, we miss him. But we just know there’s so much joy and happiness here,” Michael said.
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