May 12, 2009 | Grant Olsen moved next door to Paul Dunn when the two were youngsters. It was the start of a lifelong friendship that continued when they were college fraternity brothers but was cut short when Dunn succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2002.
Olsen and fellow Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers will stage the Ninth Paul Dunn Golf Classic on May 18 to honor the memory of their friend and raise money for ALS care and research at UAMS. The event has raised more than $215,000 since its inception and has become a way to remember Paul and work toward finding a cure for the terminal neurological disease.
The golf tournament will be held at Maumelle Country Club, 100 Club Manor Drive, in Maumelle. Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. followed by the shotgun start at 8 a.m. Lunch and an awards ceremony are scheduled for 11 a.m.
The cost is $500 per team or $125 per person. To register or for information, visit www.pauldunnclassic.com or call Cathy Sanders at (501) 526-7399.
“Paul had this vision of trying to raise awareness of the disease at first but now its become a good fundraiser for ALS research at UAMS,” said Kristy Acri, Dunn’s widow, as Dunn’s 9-year-old son Parker sat nearby.
Parker was just weeks old when his father was diagnosed with ALS.
Upon being diagnosed with the disease in 2000, 28-year-old Paul Dunn asked his friends and fraternity brothers to help him raise money to fight ALS.
Olsen and Acri said the tournament now provides a chance for old friends to gather and share memories of their friend in addition to raising funds to battle ALS. Childhood friend Olsen described Dunn as a comedian. Acri said he “had an unbelievable gift for making the people around him laugh.”
Stacy Rudnicki, M.D., a neurologist who treats ALS patients at UAMS, including Dunn, praised his friends for helping raise awareness for ALS. Proceeds from the golf tournament have funded ALS clinical research under her direction, as well as the basic science work of John Crow, Ph.D., director of the J. Thomas May Center for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Research.