Every August Until A Cure.

No matter the season, Sycuan Casino has always been a magnificent player in the region when it comes to helping out organizations in and around San Diego. Creating local support with non-profits with nationwide missions is part of the daily duties for Sycuan’s team members. So when it came to giving a hand to the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter, it was a natural choice and one that touched home.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, had years back affected a dear, long-time employee of the casino. Suffering the loss of their team member, Sycuan stepped up and has, even before the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge craze, been an avid supporter of the local chapter serving San Diego and Imperial counties.

The progressive neurological disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. Since no cure has been discovered, the Association focuses not only on research to find one but advocates in Capitol Hill to knock down roadblocks for medication and experimental treatments, as well as provide quality life care for patients.

Though Lou Gehrig himself was teaching people around the world about his disease back in the late 30’s, it wasn’t until 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that it was put in the world’s spotlight. That year, nationwide, the organization raised over $115 million of which a great majority went to research.

Here in San Diego, Sycuan Casino keeps placing its bets with the local chapter of the ALS Association. Sycuan supports two major ALS events; the 8th Annual ALS Golf Classic & Dinner on August 19th at Sycuan Resort and their Greater San Diego Walk on De Anza Cove in Mission Bay November 6th.

Not only is the casino involved with monetary donations but dozens upon dozens of Sycuan team members get behind the action too. Having experienced first-hand one of their own affected by ALS, it became evident for them to dedicate and commit their time to not only raise funds but also awareness of the disease. Rich LeBaron, Director of Emerging Technologies at Sycuan Casino, had a family member with the disease. LeBaron shares, “I was proud to in 2014 organize with the support of Sycuan’s Tribal Council a community ALS Water Bucket challenge, inviting residents of the community, Sycuan patrons and Sycuan team members to participate. Sycuan is a truly amazing organization that gives so much back to its community and employees.”

Executive director of the ALS Greater San Diego Chapter Steve Becvar knows the challenges patients and their families deal with and set out to help visualize for them what it is like living with ALS thanks to grants and fundraising efforts.

Having recently relocated their offices to a new location, Becvar saw a perfect opportunity to demonstrate to those they serve a real-life feel of how to best prepare for the onset of the disease. Gaining inspiration from a local patient who was eager to demonstrate his own home modified environment to those struck by ALS, Becvar is on the verge of finishing a first of its kind bedroom and bathroom build-out at their office.

The room, which will double as workspace during workdays, will show, teach and help new ALS patients and their families what the journey with the disease looks like.
From a modified bedroom to assistive equipment designed for ALS sufferers to a bathroom set-up, the room will offer patients, along with comprehensive training, an ideal feel of how to best acclimate, and give quality of life.

Thanks to benefits like the upcoming ALS golf tournament and walk, the San Diego chapter is able to further its mission until a cure is found. Becvar comments to Giving Back Magazine, “Today Sycuan Casino continues to support us with events, partnerships, their staff, their giving organization and we have been very fortunate to be a recipient of their support.”

Sycuan Casino and ALS Greater San Diego Chapter are inviting the community and take part in their upcoming events, which are sure to cool down supporters beyond any ice bucket challenge this summer.

ALS Golf Classic & Dinner
August 19th
Willow Glen at Sycuan

Greater San Diego Walk
November 6th
De Anza Cove in Mission Bay