Local Charity Marks Five Years

Grace Allen
5th Annual Bubba Strong Golf Tournament Slated for Aug. 12
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

When Norfolk resident Greg “Bubba” Jacobson was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer, his friends organized a golf tournament to help defray treatment expenses for the teen and his family. It was a huge success, and the Bubba Strong Charitable Fund was born. The organization’s purpose is to “pay it forward” by relieving some of the financial burdens associated with catastrophic childhood illness, said Sue Jacobson, Greg’s mother.
Five years later, the non-profit organization has distributed over $65,000 to families impacted by a pediatric cancer diagnosis. The group raises most of its funds through its annual golf tournament in August and a bowling tournament in February. In addition, the organization has been the recipient of several smaller fundraising events, including a recent basketball tournament.
This year’s golf tournament will take place on Monday, August 12 at the Foxborough Country Club. The tournament will begin at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start and a scramble format. The $150 entry fee covers 18 holes of golf and dinner following the tournament. A dinner-only option is available for $50.
According to Diane McLoughlin, the organization’s president, over the last five years Bubba Strong has dispensed eight $5,000 grants to local families; $7,000 in American Express gift cards for patients at Massachusetts General Hospital’s pediatric hematology-oncology unit, where Greg Jacobson was treated; and six $1,000 scholarships for King Philip High School seniors impacted by serious illness.
In addition, during the holidays the organization adopts a family with a child undergoing treatment at Mass General, helping to provide gifts for the children.
A recent new initiative will help cover transportation costs for patients and their families. Called “Bubba’s Bus,” the initiative provides Uber gift cards for families without a car who are dependent on public transportation to get to the hospital for treatment.
Said Sue Jacobson, “If a child undergoing chemo gets a fever at 2 a.m., they need to get to the hospital as soon as possible, even if they do not have a car. You cannot wait until morning. Hopefully this will help alleviate some of that stress for families.”
The Norfolk Lions have donated the money to establish Bubba’s Bus, said Jacobson.
Elyse Levin-Russman, the clinical social worker in the pediatric hematology-oncology unit at Mass General, says the Bubba Strong Charitable Fund has quickly become her go-to resource for the families she works with.
“The Jacobsons and their organization have been able to do a number of amazing things,” said Levin-Russman. “Every time I see them they’ve come up with something new. It’s pretty phenomenal and their impact is felt all over.”
Levin-Russman said the Bubba Strong fund helps bridge the healthcare coverage gap exposed by major illness, noting “Everyone thinks they have great health insurance until they have to use it.”
Rapidly mounting co-pays, parking fees, hotel stays for children too sick to travel, unpaid bills because parents have to stay with a child and cannot work—these are the hidden costs of childhood cancer, said Levin-Russman.
“Cancer is expensive, and people learn quickly about the financial toxicities of the disease,” she said. “Because of the Bubba Strong Charitable Fund, we can help you,” she said. “We maybe can’t help you pay your medical bill but we can help you with a utility bill or shave off the cost of your driving here this week.”
Levin-Russman added, “The Jacobson family is doing this out of a sense of care and concern for others traveling the road they have traveled. They have maintained all along the importance of paying it forward and supporting other families who are following them. And the whole family is all in. Greg himself speaks with great passion on this. The Bubba Strong fund is doing meaningful and impactful things. It’s really quite admirable.”
To register for the golf tournament or to learn more, visit www.bubbastrong.com or follow the Bubba Strong Charitable Fund on Facebook. Organizers are accepting raffle donations and auction items, and sponsorships are available for local businesses and organizations.