After watching a broadcast of the 2005 Ironman World Championship, our son, Brian, then a 12 year old triathlete, was motivated to help raise awareness and money to find a cure for ALS. Brian saw Jon Blais finish the grueling endurance event just five months after being diagnosed with ALS. Brian watched as Jon did a log roll across the finish line, something that would catch on with athletes spreading awareness for the disease which took Jon's life just two years later.
Brian started what has now become a family mission to stop ALS. His first fundraising campaign was a letter asking friends and family to sponsor his triathlons in 2006. Then Brian had the idea to host a comunity road race. The FIESTA 5k Challenge has raised $330,000 since 2007. The annual road race is held near the beginning of May each year.
Kevin, our younger son, has been golfing since the age of nine and is currently competing in college. When he saw how the community responded to help families living with ALS, he too became inspired. Of course Kevin decided that we needed to host a golf tournament. Our first tournament was in 2013. We are honored to partner with former NFL great, Terance Mathis for the annual Terance Mathis Celebrity Golf Classic held each fall. The event has raised $76,000 to date.
Mike joined Brian in competing in triathlons in 2006 at a sprint distance race. He gradually challenged himself to the longer distances, eventurally building to the Ironman distance. Mike has completed three Ironman triathlons and the inspiration from Jon Blais carried him to the finish line each time.
In additionto directing our fundraisers, Karen is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Emory ALS Clinic, webmaster for the Emory ALS Center, and a committed advocate for ALS across the country. She was a founding member of Team Blazeman and was on the initial Board of DIrectors for the Blazeman Foundation for ALS. Karen attends and helps organize ALS events regularly and is a member of the ALS Association Georgia Chapter's Public Policy Committee. Literally there isn't a day that goes by without her doing something to spread awareness, work on a fundraiser, or support a patient.
We started Cure for ALS in 2006 as a means to host the inaugural ALS road race but the organization has grown to be much more than we ever imagined. While our fundraisers benefit the Emory ALS Center, our family supports many other organizations benefiting ALS. We participate in events throughout the year and do our best to be the voice, the hands, and the feet of those pALS who have lost theirs.