It was a fantastic sixth year for the ALS Society of Canada’s golf fundraisers across British Columbia.
In the Columbia Valley alone, over $13,000 was raised to bring awareness and help discover treatment to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
This neurodegenerative disease is fatal and difficult to diagnose. People living with ALS become progressively paralysed due to the degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
However, thanks to the hard work of dedicated golfing professionals and courses across B.C., research and programs are becoming more and more available through funds raised for the cause, including a new children’s camp, for those living with, or living with a family member who has ALS.
To thank golfers and hosting courses for their dedicated work and excellent fundraising job, ALS Society of Canada’s Executive Director Wendy Toyer and dedicated volunteer and husband Tony have been making the rounds, presenting certificates, bags and their gratitude, as well as visiting people who live with ALS along the way.
“It’s inspirational, and the thing that never ceases to amaze me is that, as awful as ALS is, so much positive energy comes from these people and supporters,” said Toyer. “They want to take back what ALS has taken away from them, and give to others as well.”
Toyer first became involved with the ALS Society of Canada when a close friend of hers who had been diagnosed with the disease passed away.
“I wanted to be a part of it,” said Toyer. “I wanted to cure the disease.”
She later met husband Tony, who also became involved with Toyer’s ALS work, doing the driving on provincial trips, taking photos for the ALS website and more.
“He’s my number one volunteer,” laughed Toyer.
When the ALS golf fundraisers first began, it was one golfer on one course. Now the fundraising initiative features just under 100 golfers on 38 courses across B.C.
The first solitary golfer for the cause played from sunrise to sunset, and raised $7,000 over the course of 288 holes. Later, the Society approached the Professional Golfers Association of British Columbia (PGABC), and the PGABC made ALS their official charity.
“We have not lost a single course or pro that has signed on for this,” said Toyer. “It’s phenomenal. That’s how committed these people are. People with ALS are so touched that someone is thinking about them by doing this. I can only imagine how sore they are for days and day after playing these huge fundraiser rounds.”
As Toyer made trips to Columbia Valley courses and golfers, she also brought with her good news about the fight against ALS.
A stage three trial has begun to study the efficacy of ceftriaxone in order to determine if it prolongs survival and/or slows the decline in function for ALS patients.
Trials are available at select locations across Canada for qualifying ALS patients to try.
The ALS Society of Canada extends a large thank-you to participating courses and golfers who have worked hard to raise the amount they did for this cause, and hope to see their support again in years to come.
For more information about ALS, or the new stage three trial study, please visit als.ca