Golfers Michael Van Horne and Kenny Maki woke up early on Monday morning with purpose to hit the Fernie Golf Course just as the sun was rising.
Fernie was one of over 30 courses across the province to participate in the 10th Annual PGA of B.C. Golfathon for ALS.
The Golfathon runs throughout the month of June and raises funds for those suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
ALS is a rapidly progressive disease that attacks motor neurons throughout the body; causing them to lose strength, atrophy and eventually die.
Van Horne has participated in the Golfathon for the last three years and described it as a “worthwhile experience.”
“ALS and what it does to the body where the mind is there but the muscles don’t react … it’s devastating,” he said.
Van Horne and Maki hit the green at approximately 5 a.m. on the morning of Monday, June 15. Van Horne didn’t stop until nearly 17 hours later at 10 p.m. while Maki racked up 13 hours on the course.
“Once you get into 130-140 holes of golf you start feeling the effect of your muscles just wearing out and not being able to do what you want them to do. It gives you a bit of a feeling of what the people with ALS go through but on a much, much smaller scale,” said Van Horne.
Van Horne said he was inspired to continue his participation with the Golfathon after meeting Helen Dodgson — a local woman who recently passed away from ALS.
“I met her when I first did [the Golfathon] and then I finally got to know her and every year since we would get together and chat, have lunch during the event,” said Van Horne. “After meeting Helen and getting to know her, seeing what she went through over the years it meant a lot. She was an extremely positive person throughout the entire ordeal right up until the end. To me, something like that when you know there’s nothing that can be done other than to make you comfortable, whatever we can do to get closer to a cure or a way to help better identify the disease is great,” he said.
Between online donations and contributions made at the Pro Shop, the pair raised over $2500.
For more information on the Golfathon visit www.golfathonforals.ca