© Ashley Thompson
The family of the late Janet White hosted the first annual golf tournament in her memory at the Avon Valley Golf Club in Falmouth July 22. Pictured here are Janet’s husband, Jim White, and two of their three children, Jennifer Kershaw and Andrew White.
The best birthday present Janet White ever received is now the gift that keeps on giving.
Andrew White, the middle child of Janet and Jim White, knew his first birthday since mom’s death would be tough.
“I was born on my mom’s birthday, so I was the greatest birthday present a mom could ever ask for,” the 32-year-old said, with a grin.
“This is the first year that I actually won’t be celebrating my birthday with her,” he added, pausing to maintain his composure.
Andrew could have decided to spend the day — July 22, 2014 — far from prying eyes, reflecting on the years he had his mother by his side on their birthday in solitude.
That may have been the easier thing to do, but Andrew had another idea. He opted to host the first annual Janet White Memorial Golf Tournament at the Avon Valley Golf Club in Falmouth instead.
“Mom was a staple in this community. She was a great friend and a great mom. She was a real bubbly personality that everyone could get along with,” Andrew said.
“It’s a way for us to get together as friends and family and celebrate her and fundraise for the ALS society.”
Janet, the founder of Full Circle Realty, was a prominent realtor in the Annapolis Valley, as well as in Windsor and West Hants. The mother of three died in October 2013, one year after doctors discovered ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosiswas) was to blame for mysterious health ailments she started experiencing shortly after founding Full Circle Realty in Windsor.
All of the proceeds raised at the golf tournament organized in Janet’s honour will be donated to the ALS Society of Nova Scotia. The society’s website says about 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians are living with ALS.
“As much as they’ve made strides in trying to help people with ALS, there really is no cure. There is no way to treat it, you can only just slow it down,” said Andrew.
In Janet’s case, bulbar onset ALS attacked her speech, muscles and lungs.
“It was very difficult to see her progress so quickly with the disease,” recalled Andrew.
He hopes the inaugural tournament, with 13 teams and 60 participants, will bring in at least $8,000 for the ALS society.
“It’s been a fantastic turnout so I couldn’t be happier.”
Andrew plans to make the golf tournament an annual event that helps the ALS society support families dealing with fatal disease, and fund research focused on finding a cure for the debilitating disorder commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
To learn how to get involved, visit www.janetwhitememorialgolf.org.