Superior Sunrise Centennial Rotary Club

Blackwoods Blizzard Tour Raises Millions for ALS

The Black Woods Blizzard Tour – A Ride to Fight ALS is the single largest snowmobile fundraising event in the world. The ride celebrated its 18th year by bringing in an all-time new record amount of $1,133,900, which will go towards services provided by The ALS Association as well as global research into a cure. Spanning Northern Minnesota from February 1 - 4, the Tour featured 225 riders and was backed by 67 sponsors, including title sponsor, Black Woods Grill & Bar.  ALS Association Executive Director, Jennifer Hjelle, was overwhelmed by the generosity of all involved. 
In 1999 four friends rode snowmobiles around Lake Superior hoping to raise funds for ALS (Lou Gerhrig’s Disease). They raised $15,000.00.  In 2017 the event registered about two hundred fifty riders who traveled roughly 300 miles over one weekend. They raised over a million dollars.
John Focault spoke to our club on April 11, 2017 about this event. He became involved in the ride when his sister was diagnosed with ALS. The funds raised are distributed in several ways. A portion goes to the ALS association working on research for medications, cures, and prevention of ALS. Other funds stay locally in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas providing ALS patients with medical equipment and supplies such as walkers, hoir lifts, ramps, specialized eating utensils.  Funds also are used to assist the family and friends who are caregivers of ALS patients with reimbursement for mileage, and respite services.
The story of this organization should inspire us as rotarians. Who do we want to help, save, teach, house, or feed, that would be worth raising a million dollars?
You can learn more about the event on their website.