Wendy Toyer, Executive Director of the ALS Society of BC, travelled across the province to personally thank each golf professional who participated in the PGA of BC Golfathon for ALS including golf pro Michael Van Horne at Fernie Golf and Country Club. Van Horne golfed 153 holes in the high heat on July 2.
With the community’s help, Van Horne and staff at Fernie Golf and Country Club were able to raise over $2000 for ALS patient services.
“I’ve never had the chance to do this before as my previous boss always did it because he could play more holes,” said Van Horne. “I started with glow in the dark golf balls at predawn and finished at 7 pm in what felt like 35 degrees. I drank 36 bottles of water and five Powerades. It was more mental than physical. I was happy to do it.” The hot weather meant there were few golfers playing the course that day allowing Van Horne to play at his own pace; his fastest round was 1 hour and six minutes.
All of these hard earned funds go directly to ALS patient like Fernie local Helen Dodgson. Dodgson was diagnosed with ALS in June 2012 but she started noticing signs in the fall of 2011. “I would be playing darts but they would never make it to the target, they would just fall to the floor. Walking with my friends, I would have to sit down (to rest) over and over again.”
“I’d never make it without the ALS Society in BC and Alberta and my physiotherapist, Bridgette Hemsted. They have been incredibly kind and helpful,” said Dodgson. ALS has been providing equipment aids to Dodgson such as a motorized wheel chair that costs more than $15,000.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects the person’s motor neurons that carry messages to the muscles resulting in weakness and wasting in arms, legs, mouth, throat and elsewhere; typically the person is immobilized within two to five years of the initial diagnosis. There is no known cause or cure yet.
The ALS Society also arranges Dodgson’s Home Health Services that include home care nurses, home support care aids and occupational and physical therapy to keep Dodgson as independent as possible.
“Home care helps me to get showered and dressed in the morning and again at night. If I had to do that on my own, it would take me three hours on each side. The fatigue is the worst. I get frustrated a lot,” said Dodgson.
What started as a fundraiser with one golf pro now has 107 pros across the province golfing from dawn until after dusk to raise awareness and funds for ALS patients.
Donations can still be made at the pro shop or at: www.golfathonforals.ca