Our deepest gratitude to Golden West supporter Tom Horton, who participated in his 17th Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race to Defeat ALS on August 27, 2023. The annual Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race is a 32-mile “marathon,” which starts at Catalina’s Isthmus Cove and ends at the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Tom had initially participated in the race twice and had decided not to return. But after his mother, Anastasia “Peacha” Horton, lost her battle with ALS in 2005, he decided to keep going in loving memory of Peacha and to raise awareness and funds on behalf of the ALS community. In 2014, Tom created an online tribute page to benefit ALS Golden West and named his efforts Paddling for Peacha.
Every year, he remembers his mother and his friends affected by ALS by sharing his thoughts, photos, videos, and blog posts. Tom also tapes a photo of his mother or someone else he knows who has been diagnosed with ALS. In August this year, Tom discovered that his dear friend, nationally recognized free surfer, Greg Browning, was diagnosed.
The wind conditions for the 2023 Catalina Classic were the worst by far this year, but Tom managed to persevere and finish the race.
“Having Greg’s photo on my board gave me someone to talk to and remind myself I have it easy in comparison no matter what ocean conditions were like.” Tom shared on his Facebook page.
In addition to completing the historic race, Tom was a part of the committee that helped install a statue at the waterfront to commemorate the race. This year marks the 46th annual Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race.
As a result of many years of continued support of Golden West’s mission priorities, Tom and his supporters have raised over $170,000 toward his overall goal of $200,000. All of us at ALS Golden West are extremely grateful to Tom and his family for their dedication to our ALS community and for advancing the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS. To support Tom’s efforts, please make a gift today!