Teeing off for ALS

Marc McAndrews and Jan Best teeing off from sunrise to sundown during Golf A Thon for ALS this Saturday at Mount Brenton Golf Course.

This weekend, Mount Brenton Golf Course head pro Marc McAndrews and assistant pro Jan Best won’t be playing your average round of golf.

In fact, they’ll be playing several, as they tee off from sunrise to sundown to raise money for the BC PGA Golf A Thon for ALS Saturday.

The Golf A Thon will see pros from around the province get out of the pro shop and onto the course to raise money. This will be the fifth year Mount Brenton is taking part.

“We’re not going to take any breaks or anything, and we play right through all the groups,” Best said. “We’re finishing every hole, and we’re playing properly and seeing who is playing better; that keeps it focused.”

Last year, Best and fellow pro Cash Reumkens participated in the Golf A Thon and managed to complete nine rounds of golf by the time daylight was fading and raised just over $3,000. The funds go to the ALS Society of BC.

“We’d like it to be more,” McAndrews said. “We’d like [people] to come down and make a pledge on behalf of their friend or family member who has suffered through ALS.”

ALS [Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis] destroys motor neurons that are an important link in the nervous system and through which the brain controls voluntary muscles throughout the body. More commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a degenerative and ultimately fatal neuromuscular disease with an average life expectancy of two to five years after diagnosis.

“Most people know someone who has had ALS, it seems,” McAndrews said. “And they haven’t made any great leaps and bounds like they have with treating heart disease and cancer.”

“It’s not a very well-known disease; it’s kind of obscure,” added Best.

Ladysmith’s Mike Pellatt was diagnosed with ALS in 2001. He started the ALS On a Roll fundraiser in 2003, riding his power wheelchair from Campbell River to Victoria to raise awareness. Before his passing in 2006, Pellatt handed the On A Roll torch to Duncan’s Rick Wilkinson, who was diagnosed in 2003.

An average 18-hole game at Mount Brenton takes approximately four hours, but Best and McAndrews will be playing through non-stop, with the help of club volunteers who will take them to and from each hole by power cart. Each round will take them about an hour and a half.

“It’s a lot of swinging,” Best said.

Donations can be made at Mount Brenton Golf Course or online by clicking here.