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Breezy Point

Local Golf
September 24, 2017

The Best In People - MG Charities Golf Classic
Mike and Linda Givens
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Mike and Linda Givens
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By Rhett Arens

Golf has a way of bringing out the best in people. Maybe it's the weather or the relaxing pace. Perhaps it's the friendly nature of the game or the companionship that is always present. People who appreciate the game know this, they're people who care and they also understand they are blessed and in a positon to give back. Linda Givens and her family are that type of people and they have created an annual two day golf event that is second to none. It packs a major 'WOW' factor that keeps the dedicated, supportive core of attendee's and sponsors returning year after year from all corners of the country.
The origins of the Mind Over Matter Golf tournament go back 21 years when it was founded by Michael Givens to support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Mike and Linda had begun their run of great success in the Wendy's franchise business and Mike's natural positivity and ability to bring people together created the building blocks for a successful golf tournament structure. In 2005 brain cancer struck Mike; so, after 19 years supporting the DTFA (and raising more than $10 million), Mike and Linda made the tough decision to switch the tournament's focus to brain tumor medical funding. Through their personal experiences, they realized the need for accelerated advancement in tumor research, comprehensive family support and creating a state-of-the art facility. In 2014 they established MG Charities to do just that. No nonsense, get it done people.
Tragically in April of 2015 Mike passed away after his lengthy and courageous battle with brain cancer. Today Linda and her children, Michael and Megan carry on the work of MG Charities following the lead that Mike and his relentless passion had established in the early years of the Dave Thomas Foundation. Mike knew golf has a magic way of bringing philanthropic minded people to the cause. That magic comes to life at a tournament called Mind Over Matter Charity Classic - Finding a Cure for Brain Cancer, which will be held July 16th and 17th at the Wayzata Country Club.
The Givens family developed and now host a number of charitable events throughout the year that give back to local schools, local churches and the on-going brain cancer funding. In 2016 the focus of all this effort came to fruition with the grand opening of the Givens Brain Tumor Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Under the inspirational guidance of Dr. John Trusheim, Medical Director of Neuro-Oncology at Allina Health, the Brain Cancer Center began treating patients. With Dr. Trusheim's vision and tireless championing within the medical community, the Center is now fully staffed, fully functioning and providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment. Good people, doing great things.

A couple of startling facts about brain cancer: (a) every day approximately 500 people are diagnosed with a brain tumor, and (b) there are 700,000 Americans living with a brain tumor every day. These are startling numbers, but the golf community is a very giving bunch and when brought together under a single cause they can impact positive change. Mike knew this; Megan, Michael and Linda know this and have an avid golf community that believes in them. Golf tends to bring out the best in people.

Megan has emphasized that going forward the Givens family is striving to grow the care capacity of the Center through more philanthropic events and building human connections between organizations. For her and the family it's motivating and rewarding to know that more people are receiving better care. That more families are receiving the specialized support and helpful guidance they need to make the tough decisions that come along during the long-term care process. That doctors providing that care have the best equipment and resources at their disposal. That the Center has the best staff and staffing levels required. This means many jobs were also created within the Minnesota medical community as a result of the MG Charities initiatives, another positive outcome from all this effort and focus.

Mike and Linda have always led by example with their children to work hard and be the best you can be. As Michael now states, "We want this facility to be the best it can be and we know we are moving the needle, you can feel it." Everyday this family makes strides in that direction. Whether through a golf tournament, a fundraiser, the Dave Thomas Foundation or a simple phone call to a family in need, the Givens and the game of golf are always giving back.

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