Tom was just 50 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007. Tom passed away just four months after being diagnosed. A Kansas City native, Tom was the first-born of a large Irish Catholic family and was a local dentist for 25 years. His passing left a huge void in the lives of all who knew and loved him.
To honor his good friend and golfing buddy, Doug worked with a dedicated group of Tom’s friends and family to establish the Thomas P. O’Sullivan IV Foundation. The Foundation works to honor Tom’s life and turn the tragedy of his death into something positive by raising funds for colorectal cancer research.
In September 2008, the Foundation held their first annual golf tournament. The tournament was a huge success with 124 participants raising over $36,000 dollars for colorectal cancer research programs at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Doug and the Foundation worked hard to make the tournament fun and create numerous donation opportunities for participants. They used themed holes to raise funds. For example, Tom was an avid fly-fisherman so they had a fly fishing hole. Participants cast-off to the hole with their donation. This hole alone, raises over $800 annually. Since Tom was a dentist, they also had a dentistry hole. And, to honor Tom’s wife, Marina’s Mexican heritage, they developed a margarita hole with lot of opportunities for free beverages. Marina and Doug also worked with the Colorectal Cancer Coalition to develop a “symptoms fact sheet” hole to provide information to participants about colorectal cancer screening.
“Its not as hard as it sounds. I had never done anything like this before. Anyone can do [fundraising] with a group of committed people.” — Doug Sharp