In the past six months the crisis has gotten worse. In that time deaths have increased 18% in Connecticut according to Hartford HealthCare, and I can’t believe it’s much better elsewhere.
Over 130 people a day are dying in America from the crisis.
No, I’m not talking about the Covid-19 pandemic- that’s today’s crisis. This is the Opioid Overdose crisis- you remember, the one that filled daily newspapers just a few short months ago with stories of loved ones lost to the scourge and countless reports about collaborations among law enforcement, civic and private organizations scrambling for ways to stem the overdose tide.
It was the most important issue of the day.
But that was yesterday. In March we shifted crises. Since then Covid has replaced Opioid as the operative word, and nary a piece will you read about opioid overdoses. It’s as if our attention spans can’t juggle simultaneous traumas.
Monday, Aug 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time to remind us that the other crisis is still very much with us. Hundreds of pairs of shoes will dangle from the Burrand Bridge in Vancouver, left by loved ones of overdose deaths.
And to symbolize their losses hundreds more would have clamped Love Locks onto a special gate during the Matt Herring Foundation’s Overdose Awareness Walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson (sadly canceled this year due to the pandemic along with many others on sportingAcause.com).
The International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us that nearly 70,000 people in America, mostly young, die every year from overdoses.
But that was Monday’s reminder. What about tomorrow?
I don’t think there is a more devastating illness than ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This neurodegenerative treachery robs its victims of muscular control. First it limits and then eliminates leg and hand movements, then finally it impedes the ability to swallow and breath. But it leaves the mind intact- fully aware of its body’s condition.
ALS affects the sufferers’ family/caregivers as well. It levies a ponderous emotional and financial toll. Once diagnosed, the average lifespan for someone with ALS is two to five years. It is always fatal.
Organizations like the ALS Foundation are working to support ALS sufferers and their families while also funding research for treatments and a cure.
For the past eight years Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated in the Ride to Defeat ALS to raise much-needed funds for the ALS Foundation. She lost her father Paul to ALS over 20 years ago. He was a great man and a good friend of mine whose smile was infectious. As I’ve said in a previous blog , smiling may be the bravest thing you can do when you have ALS.
Nicole is looking for your support to help raise money for the ALS Foundation. If you are able to give, please go here to donate: :https://www.facebook.com/donate/1191671207873585/10219707843141627/.
And as Nicole says “Every little bit helps”.
The list grows longer of golf tournament fundraisers that have decided to give it a try this year. But they will not look the same as they did way back in 2019.
Courses are scrambling to find ways to keep these gatherings safe without , well, gathering. The good news is that once golfers are out on the course and playing they can easily distance from one another. The bad news is there are bottlenecks during the process when golfers tend to bunch up, like during registration, buying raffle tickets, waiting for tee assignments, lunch, awards and raffle drawings and dinner.
But golf courses are coming up with solutions to these challenges. At Undermountain Golf Course, for example, registration and payment will be done on-line in advance of tournament day, the raffle will be restricted to a 50/50 rather than a prolonged drawing and dinner is likely to be “to go”. Participants will be limited to 72 golfers for a two-flight tournament.
Over at Fair View Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, one of their upcoming tournaments will have an on line silent auction and raffle, dinner will be replaced by a gift certificate for a free round of golf and registration will be limited to 100 golfers.
At Undermountain, rather than waiting in a group for tee assignments, foursomes will be given their starting hole, and they will go straight to their tee – no hanging around the club house, and lunch will be a boxed meal at the turn.
Masks and distancing are always in order, but of course, all of these best-laid plans are subject to change.
Here is the latest batch of tournaments to weigh in:
Torrington Little League Golf Tournament, Aug. 14th, Fairview Farm Golf Course
Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Aug. 14, Copake Country Club
Fore Autism Charity Golf Tournament, Aug. 21st, Fairview Farm
Fore The Children Golf Tournament, Aug. 31st, Torrington Country Club
High Watch Golf Tournament, Sept. 21st, Club at River Oaks
Hearts of the Fathers Golf Tournament, Oct. 8th, Copake C. C.
John Foley Lone Oak Challenge Golf Tournament Canceled for 2020
Co ARC Opportunitees Golf Tournament, Sep. 24, Copake C.C. FULL
BLN 20th Annual Golf Tournament, Sept. 14th, Torrington C.C.
Sharon Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Sept. 15th, Sharon Country Club
Torrington PAL Golf Tournament, Sept. 28th, Torrington C.C.
Again, everything these days is subject to change, so check http://sportingacause.com/ for updates.
Reason for Hope
So many cancellations, so many fundraising opportunities lost, so much uncertainty. But here in the sports-related fundraiser world there is now reason for optimism. Even as many events have canceled (and continue to) and the daily dose of Covid-19 news looks bleak, some charities are still hopeful that they can pull off their events.
Two weeks ago I offered an unhappy list of event cancellations. Today, here is a list of events that are either on the calendar or are hoping to be.
Ancrum Fire Co. Golf Tournament, August 9th at Undermountain Golf Course
Northwest CT United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament, on hold
UNICO Golf Tournament, moved to Oct 5th at Torrington Country Club
James Ducillo Canaan Exchange Club Golf Tournament, possibly in late August
Amenia Fire Co. Golf Tournament, September 12th at Undermountain Golf Course
SWSA Golf Tournament and Pig Roast, September 19th at Undermountain Golf Course
Fore the Children Golf Tournament, August 31st at Torrington Country Club
Ice Bucket Challenge, tentatively in October
Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament, September at Copake Country Club
Angevine Farm Half Marathon, postponed – new date to be determined
Jane Lloyd Fund Clam Bake, postponed – hope to hold an event in September
Salisbury Cricket Club Cricket Match, postponed, hope to hold event in September
Million Mile Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser, still on for month of September
Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament, rescheduled for September 2nd at Berkshire Hills Country Club
Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon, still scheduled for September 13th with alterations
Many more events are, as yet, undecided . Needless to say, everything these days is subject to change, so check out sportingAcause.com for event updates.
It will be the most comforting, nurturing stroll these folks take this year. Hundreds will traverse the Walkway Over the Hudson this fall during the Out of the Darkness Community Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
You’ll see teams of walkers sporting T shirts with the names and faces of loved ones lost to suicide. They will wear a variety of colored beads, each signifying a particular form of loss- white beads mean the loss of a child; orange, the loss of a sibling; gold, the loss of a parent. If you struggle with your own thoughts of suicide, there are green beads there for you.
Thomas Sherwood and his wife Marie will be walking with Team Joe. Thomas will wear orange in honor of his brother Joey who died five years ago. They will be joined by Joey’s widow Joy- she’ll be wearing red.
The mood will be, at times, surprisingly upbeat, because they are a gathering of kindred spirits – they understand what each other is going through far better than the outside world can know. Their mantra is “You’re not alone”. That’s where the nurturing and comforting come in.
But there will be somber reflection too as people step to the microphone to tell of their loss ” I am wearing white today because I lost my twin boys, both of them” Their words yank at your heart. Maybe these expressions are cathartic for them- I hope so.
But this event is also a fundraiser. The teams seek donations to help support the important work that the AFSP does.
They teach grade schoolers about mental health, continue research into what causes people to attempt suicide, and educate the general population about what behaviors to look for and how to get help for someone who exhibits those warning signs.
The AFSP mission is to decrease suicides 20% by 2025.
Thomas is raising funds now. If you would like to support him please go here: https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Thomas-Sherwood
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
Nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from suicide.
To learn more about AFSP’s good work visit https://afsp.org/
To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Dutchess/Ulster County Community Walk on Sept. 27th visit: http://sportingacause.com/event/dutchess-ulster-…s-community-walk/
To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Berkshire County Community Walk on Oct. 3rd visit: http://sportingacause.com/event/out-of-the-darkn…re-county-walk-2/.
Here is a list of sports-related fundraiser updates in the Tri-State area through July 2020. For some, there is unhappy news as organizers have had to cancel events, but for others- hope as events have been altered or postponed to perhaps a safer time.
These are uncertain times for sure, but one thing is most certain- many local charities that help our neighbors in need are themselves now in need. They have been wounded by canceled or altered fundraisers that they rely on each year to fulfill their missions. Donations could well be down with many donors unemployed and supportive businesses closed. And if that isn’t bad enough, demands for charities’ services have increased because of pandemic-related issues.
So when the appeal letters from your favorite charities arrive in the mail, please, if you are able, add something extra to your usual gift.
Litchfield/Morris Rotary Club Golf Tournament Canceled
United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament Postponed , date TBD
Maplebrook School Golf Tournament Canceled
Litchfield Open Postponed, TBD
Torrington Child Care Center Golf Tournament Canceled
John Vendetti K 0f C Golf Tournament Canceled
Immaculate Conception Church Golf Outing Canceled
Oliver Wolcott Golf Scramble Canceled
Torrington/Winsted Rotary Golf Tournament Canceled
Thomas Berlinghoff Memorial Golf Tournament Canceled
Drive for a Cure Golf Tournament Canceled
UNICO Golf Tournament Postponed to Oct 5th
Roeliff Jensen Community Library Golf Tournament Canceled
Great Barrington Rotary Golf Tournament Canceled
Tee Up For Autism Canceled
Ancrum Fire Co, Golf Tournament On- details to come
Isaiah Lamb Annual Golf Tournament Canceled
HYSB Annual Golf Tournament Canceled
Salisbury Cricket Club Cricket Match Postponed, hopefully in September
Dutchess Dragon Boat Race Canceled
Dutchess County Fair Canceled
Goshen Fair Canceled
Jaime Kirchner Wheels & Heels Race Canceled
OK 5K Race Canceled
Peach Hill Park 5K Canceled
Hopped Up for Health Run and Bike Canceled
Ryan McElroy 5K/10K Canceled
Relay for Life Berkshire County Postponed TBD
Vegan 50K Virtual
Wild Thing 5K/10K Virtual
Discover Hudson Valley Bike Ride Canceled
Pittsfield BMC Independence Day 5K Canceled
Run Around the Lake Still On!
Angevine Farm Half Marathon Postponed TBD
Litchfield Hills Triathlon Canceled
Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon On for now
Sandy Beach Triathlon Canceled
Insane Inflatable 5K Virtual
Jane Lloyd Fund Clambake Canceled, Hope to hold some event later
Jug End Ultra Virtual
Never Say No 5K May go Virtual
Canaan Rail Road Days 5 Mile Run Canceled
Harlem Valley Rail Ride Date moved to Aug 30th
Junk Yard Dogs Half Marathon Still on, details to come
We will always find ways to express ourselves, no matter how onerous the restraints. We can’t get together to celebrate a birthday or play a game, we can’t gather to mourn a loss, we can’t stand within two arm lengths of each other. Fine.
But dammit we can get in our cars and drive!
Around 40 cars worth of parade wound their way past fire houses and ambulance garages and health care facilities today to celebrate National Superheroes Day and to honor our first responders and health care heroes. Well-wishers held signs and waved from their vehicles, and at each facility along the route the heroes waved back.
Ten or 20 years from now when we look back on the Pandemic of 2020, one of the defining images of that time will be of people in their cars holding signs and paper hearts out of their windows, waving and calling out – not touching or hugging but still showing the love.
Thanks to the Tri-State Chamber of Commerce and Lime Rock Park and all of the big-hearted people who put on this moving display. And of course thanks to the heroes.