The “Cor-Trust Fore Lupus Golf Tournament” is a way to unite curlers and golfers in a single cause, helping to fund research for Lupus. It is an auto-immune disease that attacks healthy tissue and organs. Golf became the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year when COVID forced cancellation of their long time curling tournament.
“COVID has been a huge challenge,” said Regan Birr, Executive Director of the Lupus Research Foundation. “We were used to running an amazing, largest pro-am in the world for curling event. It was stellar, best curlers that you can imagine all under one roof. Nothing else like it. So we had to adapt.”
“It’s extremely difficult because you can’t have an in-person event,” said Lupus patient Mike Dietz. “On top of that there’s been such a huge economic effect on everybody’s personal pocketbooks. There’s not a lot of disposable income.”
Golf is just one adjustment that was needed.
“So we’ve transitioned into approaching our donors individually. Doing more with corporate sponsorships, asking people to donate a portion of their paycheck,” said Birr.
An earlier online curling event combined with golf is keeping the effort afloat at time when a cure seems closer than ever. Mike Dietz was diagnosed more than 20 years ago.
“They have a goal within 7 years they’re hoping to have a cure,” said Dietz. “It’s fantastic that they can put a number to that which means there has been progress and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Another glimmer of hope is a new drug that may be even closer to approval.
“When I was first diagnosed, there wasn’t that kind of hope,” said Birr. “We didn’t have the technology we didn’t have the resources, we didn’t have the people working on the genetic intricacies at kind of learning how this disease works. Now we have ways to look at the source of inflammation, as an example. And new drugs are coming down the pipeline.”
It’s the kind of serious progress organizers hope they can push forward in future fun events. Next year’s golf event is already scheduled for July.