Inaugural ALS Golf Classic in Daly City on Monday, June 17 honors the memory of a dear friend of local police while raising awareness and support for the ALS community
June 8, 2019-Daly City, California
There are certain people in the world who impact others and inspire them to make a difference. George Brown was a friend to everyone who knew him and had a deep passion for life. He was the kind of person who seemed like he was capable of anything. George was well known for his sense of humor and was naturally liked by everyone. People who met him often remarked that he had a smile that could light up any room.
In September 2003, George met the love of his life, Denise Patch, online on a dating website. Soon, the two became inseparable, and they eventually were married on May 17, 2008.
"His smile was his signature move!" share Denise. “When I read his tagline, ‘I can't cook, but I make great reservations!’, I was instantly attracted to him. From our first date, I knew I was in love with him."
George served in the U.S. Coast Guard reserves and worked for many years with financial services firms such as ING and VOYA. Then, he ventured out on his own as an financial advisor, focused on retirement planning. Some of his clients were the members of the San Francisco Police Officer Association (SFPOA).
But George’s true passion was golf. If he wasn't working or with Denise, he would be out on the golf course. He built close friendships with others through their shared love of the green. He loved golfing so much that he would invite his clients to play with him whenever he could.
“I first met George while I was working as a law enforcement officer,” shared Michael Flynn, who is now retired from San Francisco Police Department. “We soon became good friends who enjoyed golfing and going to ball games together.”
“We traveled to numerous places to play golf together, including Monterey, Reno, and even South Carolina!“ shared SFPD Sergeant Joe Finigan. “At the end of our trips, George always said, ‘See you soon!’, and I knew that he meant it.”
In 2013, George began to have headaches and pain in his left arm. He first thought was a pulled muscle, but then he noticed it was quivering and having spasms. When his symptoms worsened, he went to the doctor for a MRI and additional testing. Neurologist Dr. Will North at Kaiser Permanente diagnosed George with ALS and advised him to get a second opinion. George and Denise then went to the Forbes Norris ALS Research and Treatment Center in San Francisco, where the diagnosis was confirmed in August of 2013.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS does not discriminate -- women and men of all ages and backgrounds are at risk. For unknown reasons, those who have served in the military are diagnosed with ALS twice as often as civilians. People with ALS lose their ability to move, speak, swallow, and, eventually, to breathe. At this time, there is no known cure.
"The news was overwhelming to fathom, yet somehow we moved forward, trying our best to stay ahead of the eight ball," said Denise. "It was a difficult journey. But most days George's positive attitude and smile made it all better! Having The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in our corner was a blessing."
"The support we received from the Golden West Chapter was greatly needed and truly appreciated," Denise continued. "Our Chapter Care Manager gave us tremendous guidance and resources and the support group that we attended was very beneficial. With the Chapter's help, we continued to take everything one day at a time and enjoy every moment we had together."
“I didn't hear from George for a few months and I didn't think much about it, figuring he was busy working and traveling with Denise,” said Flynn. “When I heard he had been diagnosed with ALS, I was shocked. He was always a healthy vibrant guy. I called him and, as I heard his voice and listened to him talk, I could tell something was different. After that, a few of us would visit him at home from time to time. Then, I could see first-hand how ALS had totally taken over his body.”
“Initially, his big smile were still there,” shared Flynn. “He fought as long and hard as he could. But, over time, ALS would take that from him too.”
Sadly, George lost his battle with ALS in 2018. His family and friends remain committed to being strong ALS advocates, inspired by George's "never give up" spirit, and are determined to find treatments and cures for the devastating disease. Denise decided then the best way to do that was to create an event to honor the memory of her beloved husband, to celebrate his passions and friendships, and to raise awareness and support for our ALS community.
"I vowed to raise more awareness and support for people living with ALS and their loved ones,” shared Denise. “With the help of our friends and family, and the guidance and support of the Golden West Chapter, I decided to create the George Brown Memorial ALS Golf Classic."
“I'm doing a very small thing in helping organize this golf tournament,” shared Finigan. “My hope is that someday other people won't have go through what George did.”
“ALS is a hideous disease and a cure must be found,” adds Flynn. “Hopefully one day ALS will be a thing of the past.”
The Inaugural George Brown Memorial ALS Golf Classic will be held on Monday, June 17 at Lake Merced Golf Club at 2300 Junipero Serra Boulevard, Daly City, CA. Check-in starts at 10:00 a.m, with shotgun start at 12. After golf., there will be a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and awards presentation. All funds raised support the mission-critical priorities of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in care services, public policy, and research.
"There are more people than ever who are registering with the Golden West Chapter, and the demand for the services and support that we offer continues to grow," said Asher Garfinkel, Vice President of Community Outreach for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. "Fundraising and awareness activities, like the ALS Golf Classic, fuel our efforts to meet those demands. We are so grateful to Denise Brown and the organizing committee for creating this meaningful and fun event in support of our ALS community."
Even after losing George to ALS, Denise refuses to let the disease get the best of her. "The simplest things in life are the most important, don't take anything for granted- live, love and laugh!" shared Denise. "I will NEVER GIVE UP until there's a cure!
To register for the 2019 Inaugural George Brown Memorial ALS Golf Classic or make a gift in support, please visit GeorgeBrownALSGolfClassic.org. For more information about sponsoring, covering, or attending the event, please contact Jena Brown, Director of Special Events at 818-865-8067 x 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org