“It’s about the love” was the sentiment that seemed to resonate throughout the day at the second annual golf tournament that benefited former county commissioner Craig Hunter and his wife Michele. Hunter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, known as ALS, in May of 2010.
According to Farah Davis, co-chair for the Taylormade Fore Craig Golf Tournament, along with co-chair Traci Hamilton, 18 teams turned out to play in this year’s tournament.
Before the tournament, it was decided that money raise during the event would go to ALS research, but the golf tournament committee decided that the bulk of the money from the tournament would go to the Hunter family and it can use the money in any way the family choses. A separate, smaller donation will be made to the ALS Association.
“As Jon Cawley said in his speech at the beginning of the tournament — it’s about the love for Craig and Michele. It put a smile on my face to know that so many people gave out of love,” said Davis.
She said a lot of people who were playing in the tournament suggested that the money go directly to the Hunters. She said while the economy is still in a recession, she was pleased with the turnout on Thursday at Cross Creek Country Club.
“A lot of people gave more than what you would expect and that’s because they love Craig and Michele,” said Davis. “I know that means a lot to them.”
Michele Hunter said that she and her husband think it’s important to have more research on ALS.
“We’ve got to find a cure. It’s an awful, mean disease,” said Michele Hunter.
She said Craig has participated in a clinical drug trial for the last 12 months. In October, he will begin the open label phase and will be given the real drug. During the clinical trial, she said, it was a double-blind study, and they aren’t sure if he was on the medicine or not. He will be on that drug until it is approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
“This is a very promising drug and what it’s designed to do is to prolong the progression of the symptoms. It’s real frustrating to have a disease like this and the one drug that is on the market has been on the market since he was diagnosed,” said Hunter. She said that drug has been on the market for the past 10 years.
She said a surgeon in Ohio has designed a device called a Pacer that is a series of wires that are inserted laparoscopically that are connected to an external controller.
“It will help simulate his diaphragm so that he can get better breaths. The thing with ALS is that your nerves die and quit telling the muscles in your body what to do. Your diaphragm is a big muscle and it doesn’t work as well as yours or mine does,” said Hunter.
She told the crowd that she is excited at the possibilities of what those treatments will do for her husband. She said he will be either the first or second patient at Wake Forest Baptist Health to receive the Pacer device.
Craig Hunter, 47, loves to get out, she said. He said he was happy to see everyone and to see such beautiful weather for the tournament this year.
“We just believe that anything that we can do to help find a cure would be the ultimate goal,” said Michele Hunter.
“I feel blessed every day we are together. He was diagnosed in 2010 and we didn’t even know if he would be here now. He’s still here and still talking to us. It’s hard some days to get those words out. He’s still got that beautiful smile that melts my heart every time I see it,” said Hunter.
She said they are so thankful to everyone who helped support them through the golf tournament and beyond.
“We both have been tremendously humbled by the support from the community and all the folks who worked, not only to put it together, but to make it run smoothly the day of. The committee goes above and beyond and then all of the volunteers work so hard just to raise awareness of the disease and the need around the disease,” said Hunter. “It’s amazing to live where we live. It’s a privilege and a blessing. We’ve tried to teach our kids service and giving. It’s real hard sometimes to be on the receiving side, but it so touches your heart at the same time. Everybody here feels like family.”
This year’s first-place winners were Brad and Theresa Coalson, Todd Hiatt, Travis Sizemore and Donnie Marion. They won four rounds of golf at Pinehurst.
The second-place winners were Bucky Holcomb, Tim Hamilton, Jon Cawley and Bo Miller. They won four rounds of golf at Tobacco Road.
The third-place winners were Keith Wilmoth, Rick Marion, Chuck Hall and Clark Bledsoe. They won four rounds of golf at Cross Creek Country Club.
The fourth-place winners were Clark Comer, Josh Comer, Jamey Comer and Eddie Brown. They won four pullovers and four button-down shirts from Granite Development.
The longest putt winner on a Par 5 hole was Justin Horne. He won an oil change from Scenic Ford and $10 gift certificate to Mayberry Embroidery.
The longest drive female winner was Deidre Rogers. She won a $50 Scarlet Begonias gift certificate. The longest drive male winner was Keith Seivers. He won as crescent wrench set from Riverside Building Supply.
The closest to the pin winner on the front 9 was Herb Mason. He won a Barney’s gift certificate. The closest to pin on the back 9 was Kevin Beeson. He also won a Barney’s gift certificate. Mitch Mabe won two sessions of personal training from Julie Warren for hitting the longest shot on the marshmallow drive, which is where competitors actually hit a marshmallow.
Volunteers for the day included Chastiny Sizemore, Sandra Sutphin and Carolyn Comer. The tournament committee was made up of Farah Davis, Traci Hamilton, Colt Boyd, Dr. Ashley Hinson, Clark Goings, Earlie Coe, Jon Cawley, Tim Dockery and Guy Hunter.
Donations are still welcome. They can be sent to 300 Fairview Ave., Mount Airy. Checks should be made payable to Taylormade Fore Craig.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.