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Proceeds from Golf Tournament Give Boost to ALS Clinic

Anonymous $50,000 Donation Spurs Generosity at Auction

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A low-profile charity golf tournament, just in its second year of existence, has scored one the area’s largest purses this summer, raising more than $175,000 to help area patients suffering with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, disease.  Organizers had hoped to raise $60,000 going into the tournament, and instead, at the end of the event, found themselves holding almost triple that amount. 

The proceeds from the second annual Peter Lawrence ALS Classic Golf Tournament and the following silent and live auctions held June 28 will significantly expand services at the region’s only ALS clinic.  Established earlier this year with proceeds from the first Peter Lawrence ALS Classic Golf Tournament, the clinic will be able to double the availability of services through this year’s contributions. 

“We were awestruck by the amount raised this year,” said Charles Thorton, M.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the ALS clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  “The services we provide are so vital to helping these patients have access to excellent, coordinated care and a meaningful quality of life as long as possible.”

Going into the event, organizers had hoped to raise $60,00--$20,000 more than its inaugural outing.  This mark was more than met through the 160 participating golfers. But it was at the live auction where the bulk of the money was raised.  More than 140 bidders pledged close to $100,000, including a donation by an anonymous bidder who agreed to match any cash donation given by other bidders up to $50,000. This challenge spurred numerous contributions—with even the wait-staff at the event chipping in at one point.  All told, $175,000 was raised, and on Aug. 26, members of the tournament’s organizing committee will present a check to the ALS clinic at the Medical Center. 

Coordinated Care

More than 30,000 Americans have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS destroys the nerve cells that control muscles in healthy adults, ultimately causing complete paralysis while leaving mental function intact. ALS usually strikes in middle age or later, and men are somewhat more likely to develop ALS than women. Death often comes within two to five years of diagnosis, although some people survive longer.

Currently, there is no cure for ALS. Symptoms are numerous and are compounded as the disease progresses, effecting everything from walking, to swallowing to breathing. The focus of care is to preserve independence and communication, allowing patients to live a quality life as long as possible.

The new ALS Clinic makes this easier to achieve by bringing together all of the varied health disciplines needed to treat ALS patients for a one-day clinic. Every month, URMC neurologists and nurse practitioners, along with respiratory, physical and speech therapists, and representatives from the local MDA chapter, are all available to meet with ALS patients to review the patient’s status and make any changes to care as needed.

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Germaine Reinhardt

(585) 275-6517

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