Golfathon acts as ALS fundraiser

Comox Valley golfers whacked balls from 5 a.m. to dusk Wednesday in the seventh annual Golfathon for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

JUSTIN HOWARD TEES off at Crown Isle during the seventh annual Golfathon for ALS Wednesday. Comox Valley golfers played from 5 a.m. until dusk.

JUSTIN HOWARD TEES off at Crown Isle during the seventh annual Golfathon for ALS Wednesday. Comox Valley golfers played from 5 a.m. until dusk.

Comox Valley golfers whacked balls from 5 a.m. to dusk Wednesday during the seventh annual Golfathon for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

“This morning we’ve played four rounds, so 72 holes, we’re going in for lunch now and then we’re hopefully going to do another five or six rounds this afternoon,” Justin Howard said when the Record caught up with the golfers during lunch at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community. “Last year, I think we did 11 rounds for the day, so 10’s going to be easy.”

This is Howard’s fourth year participating in the event, and he plans to do it again next year. The day started off at Glacier Greens Golf Course, and finished up at Crown Isle.

The PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) of B.C. Golfathon for ALS was started in the Comox Valley by Scott Fraser, who is a friend of Howard’s.

“I was working here at Crown, and I watched them the first year,” said Howard. “And they looked like they were having a lot of fun — and it’s such a good reason for them to do it. I mean, ALS is such a terrible disease, there’s nothing nice about it all, so anything we can do to help is just such an advantage.”

ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder which affects a 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 or deceased within two to five years of the initial diagnosis. ALS can happen to anyone at anytime.

Crown Isle director of golfing Rod Prieto participated in the fundraiser this year for his first — but not last — time, and he noted the fight against ALS is one that has personal meaning for the people at Crown Isle, besides being an important cause in general.

“It’s a good thing to do for the community and for ALS to try to raise money for the research and we also have a member who’s just recently found out his son has ALS — one of our club members — so it’s close to home,” he said.

Since its inception in 2005, over $570,000 has been raised to support people living with ALS in B.C., and over 57,000 holes have been played.

In 2011 91 golf professionals completed over 14,000 holes, and over $105,364.82 was raised.

This year, there are 97 golf professionals from 35 golf courses participating across BC.

The public and members can support the professionals by making a donation. All proceeds will go to ALS patient services through the ALS Society of B.C. For Information or to donate visit a participating pro shop or www.golfathonforals.ca.

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