WESTMINSTER — The time has come for the seventh annual Keep S’Myelin for Katie golf tournament, which to date has raised $47,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In addition, event organizer Julie Tucker and crew will once again be doing the three day, 50-mile Challenge Walk MS: Cape Cod this fall for the eighth year in a row fundraising as part of Team Keep S’Myelin for Katie. The team’s effort has resulted in $88,000 in funds raised to help with multiple sclerosis research and also raise awareness.
“We are grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement that the community has shown us,” Tucker said. “Their kindness has been a constant source of inspiration, and we could not have achieved our goals without their help.”
Tucker said they are looking to get more golfers registered for the June 24 tournament that will be held at a new venue this year, Westminster Golf and Country Club, and have a special to entice them. Golfers register in teams of four and if they do so before the May 13 early bird deadline, it’s $140 per person instead of $150 per person.
The name of the golf tournament is a reference to MS, an autoimmune disease, and Tucker’s daughter Katie Hodge, who was diagnosed with Relapsing and Remitting MS eight years ago just after she turned 20. MS causes your immune system to attack your central nervous system and the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibers can be damaged.
Tucker’s connection to MS is very personal. She never saw her dad walk as he was confined to a wheelchair when she was born due to the disease. He passed away at the age of 59, before any of her children were born, including Hodge.
Tucker formed a nonprofit organization to help with the fundraising efforts and as a corporation they added two new events this year — the first annual Corn Hole Tournament on May 20 at Seven Saws Brewery in Holden and first annual bowling event on August 19 at Gardner Ten Pins. The corn hole tournament is already filled but people are welcome to come by and buy raffle tickets and they are working out the details of the bowling fundraiser.
So far, they have 15 teams confirmed for the golf tournament and two gold sponsors lined up, a new sponsorship category this year – Advanced Glass & Mirror of Westminster and the Workers Credit Union Gardner branch. They also have some hole sponsors — Aurora Lodge of Freemasons A.F. & A.M., Avidia Bank, Berlin Insurance Group, real estate agent Davis Asare, Elite Construction, First Financial Trust, Forbes Heating & Air Conditioning, Karas & Karas Glass, Dr. Mark M. Meszaros, D.D.S — many of those repeat sponsors.
Some great raffle items will be up for grabs, including gift certificates to local restaurants and breweries, a cooler, jewelry, and more, and they are looking for more hole sponsors as well as more golfers. Hodge, who helms the MS Challenge Walk team, was exposed to COVID two days before last year’s golf tournament and was unable to attend.
“Even though the event is outside, she didn’t want to take any chances,” her mom said.
Hodge plans to be at the golf tournament this year along with family, friends, and the golfers who are supporting her and her family. Tucker said they appreciate the continued backing from the greater community and encouragement people have shown them when it comes to their fundraising efforts and wants to give “a huge shoutout to our family, friends, and the MS Challenge Walk family that always support us.”
“We thank the community for being there for us, making us feel like valued members of this wonderful community, and for advancing the fight toward a cure for MS.”