A Good Greek Girl
My Mom, Peacha Horton, was born in Delano, California and a child of Greek immigrants. She ultimately became a third grade school teacher in Hermosa Beach and met my dad, Tom Horton, while working at a hamburger stand which later became The Bottle Inn. She loved to Greek dance, play tennis, and share laughs with friends during regular bridge games. She was a devoted wife and mother who thoroughly enjoyed being a grandmother to her four whippersnappers.
In 2004, Mom began to slur her speech with certain words, and then began to experience muscle weakness, and choking while eating and drinking. After 1 year of doctor visits and multiple tests showing inconclusive results, she was ultimately diagnosed with the Bulbar form of ALS, which is aggressive. She passed away June 9, 2005.
It's been 8 years since Mom passed, and the experience still haunts me today. During those 8 years, a lot has happened in ALS research and establishing standards of care, which brings more hope to people living with ALS than ever before. Additionally, 100 valid clinical research projects remain dormant due to lack of appropriate funding, and that is why I continue to ask for your support in funding the search for a cure to Defeat ALS.
The 2013 Rock 2 Rock and the Catalina Classic
Although I wasn't able to help Mom while she dealt with ALS, I decided in 2007 to participate in The Catalina Classic 32 Mile Open Ocean Paddleboard Race to honor my memory of Mom and to raise funds for The Golden West Chapter of The ALS Association which offers incredible support to people with ALS and their families, and supports research to find a cure.
I have participated in this event every year since and have raised over $100,000 to date for the The ALS Association, thanks to family, friends, strangers, and my former employer Genzyme. Additionally, I have found that my participation has been therapeutic for me to ease the guilt I felt while Mom had the disease and I was powerless to help her overcome it. I invite you to support the The ALS Association’s work of providing tools and services to people with ALS who struggle with simple activities of daily living and the ability to speak, as well as funding research to find a cure.
This year, the Rock 2 Rock Paddleboard race is on Sunday, Father’s Day, June 16th. It begins at the Catalina Isthmus and finishes at Cabrillo Beach (22.17 miles). My 16 year old son, Cole, and I will be doing this race individually. Then, the Catalina Classic Paddleboard race, is on Sunday, August 25th, beginning at the Catalina Isthmus and finishing at Manhattan Beach Pier (32 miles).
Any amount that is appropriate for you will be gladly accepted and put to good use. My fundraising goal for 2013 is $30,000, so please think big! You can contribute now via credit card by clicking on the "Donate to the Fund" button beneath my picture on this page, or mail a check to The ALS Association - Golden West Chapter, P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-0565. Be sure to put “Paddling for Peacha” in the memo section of your check.
Thank you for your support. When you are waking up the morning of June 16 and August 25th, cuddled up in your cozy bed, think of Cole and I out in the middle of the ocean paddling along somewhere between Catalina Island and The South Bay coastline.
See Tom Horton's NBC4 Interview and listen to his radio interview