Ottawa curlers support friend with ALS
BY JOE PAVIA Recreational curler Peter Glover (left), and teammates Mike Burke (centre) and Steve Bethune, take a break in St. John’s during the Tim Hortons Brier. A fundraising event will be held on March 25 to assist Glover, who has ALS. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The Tim Hortons Brier is not just about curling.
Most of Team Peter Glover was in St. John’s, just not for the curling, but because this most likely will be their teammate’s last Brier.
Glover has ALS, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease the causes muscle weakness, paralysis and ultimately respiratory failure. Most people know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Ottawa Curling Club team plays in a ladder open league. Prior to his diagnosis Glover threw second stones but now he holds the broom but cannot throw. Two teammates each throw three rocks instead. Third Steve Bethune says that all the teams have been very accommodating to the arrangement.
Glover enjoyed the 2016 Brier in Ottawa. “Last year the Brier was great and this year it will be great with lots of tight games,” says Glover, who now speaks with difficulty. Who will take the title? With excitement in his voice, he votes for Northern Ontario.
“Jacobs. I think he can do so much more and they work hard.”
Bethune and skip Mike Burke accompanied Glover to Newfoundland. Their lead Nicole Merriman wanted to attend, but could not.
“I came to hang around with Mike and celebrate Peter’s days at the Brier,” Bethune said. “It’s an awesome place, a great event and with a great person.”
Burke came up with the Brier idea four or five weeks ago. He had enough points to pay for Glover’s flight. The crew was on the Rock for the first weekend. “This might be the last time I see a Brier and I won’t be curling next year either.” Glover said.
Glover, 60, had excelled at swimming, skiing and windsurfing, but came to curling late — only ten years ago. He and his wife Pat were hooked by a getting-started league they joined. Peter especially sought out more curling experiences and made more and more friends.
Those friends are coming back to help him out on March 25. There is going to be a fundraiser on that day at the Ottawa club called the Team Peter Fun Spiel.
“The fundraiser is unbelievable,” Glover said. “More people signed up than we expected.” It originally was slated for 20 teams but has now grown to a 36-team tournament.
While we talked in the Patch, Bethune took Peter to the bathroom and a utensil of some sort appeared on the table. It was a special instrument for an ALS person to use to pull up his zipper after urinating.
Peter related that it costs about $150,000 to deal with ALS. He explained tthat, for instance, he needs a special chair that lifts him up.
Donations to the event can be made by contacting the manager of the Ottawa Curling Club.
Like many of their club mates, Glover was smitten by team Rachel Homan’s first appearance in the Scotties in 2013. He and his wife attended wearing special Homan’s Heroes T-shirts. The team saw them and told the couple they should sell those shirts. That stayed with lead Lisa Weagle.
The team is donating $1,200 to the Team Peter event. “It’s unbelievable what they are doing giving us $1200. It was Lisa’s idea,” said Glover, whose struggling voice still beamed joy at Team Homan’s gesture.
Glover left St. John’s happy on Tuesday morning. His Brier memories will stay with him forever.
Another Ottawa rink earned a provincial championship on the weekend. The Ottawa’s Spencer Cooper, Don Bowser, Steve Allen and Rick Allen took the Intermediates.
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