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 community road race. The Fiesta 5k Challenge started in 2007, is held every year in the spring, and benefits the Emory ALS Center.
Kevin, our younger son, has been golfing since the age of nine and played competitively in high school and college, and continues to compete in amateur events on a regular basis. 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 partnered with former NFL Atlanta Falcons great, Terance Mathis for the Terance Mathis Celebrity Golf Classic from 2013-2019.
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 addition to 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, 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. Our family has raised over $550,000 for the Emory ALS Center. While our fundraisers benefit Emory, we support 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.