$150,000 raised for Gleason Initiative Foundation at Coeur d'Alene event




Posted on June 23, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 23 at 8:12 PM

KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho.--The biggest fundraiser of the year in the Inland Northwest for the Gleason Initiative Foundation was held on Monday. More than 100 participants went to the golf club at Black Rock for the Gleason Golf Classic.

The third annual Steve Gleason Classic was a day of golf with a goal to raise money for the Gleason Initiative Foundation.

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“That's what we're here for to ultimately find a cure for ALS,” said Gleason’s former football teammate at WSU, Grady Emmerson.

One man traveled from Austria for the event.

The money raised Monday would go to help people in the Inland Northwest live more comfortable lives with ALS.

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"It's a dreaded disease.  Anyone who sees somebody suffering from this disease has to look at it and wonder why nothing's been done,” said Gleason’s father-in-law Paul Varisco.

Varisco watched ALS strip Gleason’s ability to move. A surgery to help Gleason breathe easier prevented him from traveling to the event from New Orleans.

"They performed a tracheotomy on him and it's just now become a whole new level of care.  We have to be more careful with him,” said Varisco.

Gleason was in great spirits Monday and wanted to be at the event, at least virtually. He used a synthetic voice to remind supporters why their fundraising was important.

"ALS as a disease is underfunded and largely ignored.  As a result, most ALS patients are forced to fade quietly.  That is not okay and Team Gleason is working to change that,” said Gleason. “Thank you so much for your continued support.  No White Flags."

The event raised $150,000 on Monday. The money was set to be split between the Gleason Initiative Foundation, Catholic Charities of Spokane and a scholarship in Gleason’s name at Gonzaga Prep.