People come and go in our lives, touching us and changing us in ways that affect how we think and how we treat others. We can’t predict when or how we will meet or what we’ll accomplish together. Vic Braden was one of these people in my life. He brought sunshine into a room with his smile. He knew more about life, people, psychology and sports in his one little finger than I’ll know in my lifetime. And he was my friend.
First meeting between Vic Braden and Jack Kramer
Fate had a hand in our meeting — we met thanks to Dr. Joel Buxbaum who attended a clinic at the Vic Braden Tennis College in St. George, Utah. Somehow the topic got around to lupus, a virulent rheumatic autoimmune disease that had caused the early death of Vic’s daughter at age 40 and his sister at age 19. Dr. Buxbaum told Vic about the Arthritis National Research Foundation and when Vic returned to California, he called me to set up a meeting.
“I had always promised my daughter that I would do something concrete to help eliminate lupus,” Vic told me. And he enthusiastically joined the ANRF Board of Directors, full of ideas on how to move the research forward for lupus and all forms of arthritis. His heart was especially set on helping kids with arthritis and he was working on having his beloved junior tennis ambassadors raise awareness about juvenile arthritis and the need for research. Vic honored his lifelong friendship with tennis great, Jack Kramer, by hosting a golf tournament, “The Kramer-Braden Invitational Golf Classic”, to raise funds and awareness for arthritis research, a disease that plagued Kramer throughout his career and life.
Vic with Amanda Hardy and Samantha Belisle at the Kramer/Braden Invitational
Vic’s dedication to lupus research led to ANRF naming a research grant focused on lupus in his daughter’s honor, “The Kelly Braden Memorial Grant.” Now, Vic’s commitment will be honored by calling the grant “The Vic and Kelly Braden Memorial Grant.”
Vic, we’ll miss your colorful stories, brought to life in your inimitable style. And I’ll miss your voice at the other end of the phone.
Vic’s contributions to the world of tennis are legendary; his contributions as a friend, husband, father, board member and amazing human being cannot be measured. Vic, you were well-loved and you will be sorely missed.
Arthritis National Research Foundation
The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!