Battling Debilitating Illness, Former Pro Golfer To Host Golf Benefit - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

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Battling Debilitating Illness, Former Pro Golfer To Host Golf Benefit

July 29, 2013

Wilton residents Greg and Alison Jacobson pose with Lisa Gerrol, president of the Connecticut Chapter of the National MS Society, in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency just after attending the Fairfield County Women Against MS luncheon, held in May in Old Greenwich. Greg Jacobson, a former pro golfer, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011. He can no longer play the game he loves.

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Former professional golfer Greg “Jake” Jacobson is teaming up with the Ridgefield Golf Club to host, The Jake, their first-ever golf tournament to benefit the fight against multiple sclerosis, a disabling illness Jacobson has been battling since 2007. The Jake 2013 will be held Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Ridgefield Golf Club (GC), in Ridgefield.

A resident of Wilton, Jacobson served as captain of the golf team while attending Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. From 1982 to 1984 Jacobson earned a spot as a professional tour player on the Space Coast Mini-Tour. After regaining his amateur status, was a fixture for more than 20 years at the Ridgefield Golf Club. He won numerous RGC championships and in 1995, shot a course record of 67. A regular competitor in Connecticut State Golf Association (CSGA) tournaments, Jacobson played in many Connecticut opens, amateur and mid-amateur competitions. In 1981, he was named an NCAA Golf All-American.

However, in 2011 Jacobson’s golf career came to an abrupt halt when, after years of baffling symptoms that increasingly limited his physical capabilities, he was officially diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, a debilitating form of the disease in which individuals can lose more and more motor function over time.

“Multiple sclerosis side-lined me; it has robbed me of a lifestyle I loved,” said Jacobson, who now uses a cane for stability and support. “Although MS has deprived me of many things, it can’t rob me of my unrelenting determination to help ensure science keeps moving forward toward better treatments and what I want most, a cure.”

The Jake, a traditional “best ball” golf tournament for teams of two features, three separate divisions: men’s (80 percent handicap); women’s (80 percent handicap) and scratch (no handicap). Professionals are welcome. The Jake will be held at the Ridgefield GC on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m. Entry fee includes golf, cart, range, lunch, dinner, drinks, on-course contests, prizes, drawings and a silent auction. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available.

Jacobson, along with his wife, Alison, own and operate Accessible Home Living, a company, which designs and installs many types of accessibility home features, including ramps to bathrooms, residential elevators, accessible modular in-law suites and more. The couple launched the company after Jacobson’s diagnosis of MS. Faced with the many challenges associated with disability and accessibility, the couple established the company to ensure that people of all abilities and ages live as independently as possible in their own homes.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Greg Jacobson, are affected by multiple sclerosis, a disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. Most people who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis have relapsing-remitting MS in which patients experience attacks when symptoms flare up. A relapse is followed by recovery or remission of symptoms that can last for weeks, months or longer. Primary progressive MS steadily worsens. Ten to fifteen percent of people with MS are diagnosed with primary progressive MS. However, the progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. No two people are likely to experience the identical set of symptoms in the same way.

The Jake 2013 is sponsored by Fairfield County Bank. For more information or to register for The Jake 2013, visit www.playthejake.com. To request an electronic brochure, email tournament chair Mike Reilly at mreilly80@comcast.net. For more information on multiple sclerosis, its effects and the many ways to help make a difference through Do It Yourself Fundraising, visitwww.ctfightsMS.org.

7/26/13

About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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