Paddling to Defeat ALS
Established by Thomas Horton
Golden West Chapter

    My 16th Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race to Defeat ALS 

    After my 2nd Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, finishing in a slow and painful 8 hours and 20 minutes, I intended to throw in the towel and end my paddling career.  Then after my mom passed away from ALS in 2005, I was motivated to paddle again in this race and raise money to benefit The ALS Association Golden West Chapter.  

    The Golden West Chapter was a huge help to my family during mom's struggle with the disease, from the time she was diagnosed to the time the disease took her from us.  This disease robs people of the ability to speak, swallow, walk, grip, and ultimately breathe.  It is horrible watching a loved one go through the devastating stages of the disease.  No effective treatments exist today to slow the progression of its effects, but there are several clinical trials now taking place that hope to prove the effectiveness of their drug candidates. 

    I attempted to quit the race once again after completing my 10th channel crossing in 2014, but that only lasted one year because I missed the camaraderie and no treatment breakthroughs had been developed for people living with ALS.  There is still work to be done and the only way the work can get done is through funding it.  This year - 2022 - will be my 16th Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, and heck, I might as well continue at least until I reach 20 channel crossings in 2026.  I am praying that effective treatments or cures for ALS will have been FDA approved and commercially available to patients before then.  I invite you once again to support my effort, Paddling to Defeat ALS, and contribute to the Golden West Chapter so that their care services and research efforts continue in this battle.  My overall fundraising goal is to reach $200,000, and I am at just over $150,000 today.   

    The Golden West Chapter provides assistance and services for people living with ALS, along with funding research to find an effective treatment and cure.  Fortunately, the number of clinical trials and research efforts have increased dramatically in recent years, and there seems to be a sense that we are close to finally being able to offer patients a glimmer of hope.  The need is urgent as ALS patients on average die within 2-5 years.

    Please consider donating to defeat ALS.   Funding is needed to get us across the finish line to finally develop something that works.  Thank you very much for your time and consideration!  The Hortons appreciate you and your support very much!

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    Thank you!

    Thank you for your support. Any amount that is appropriate for you will be gladly accepted and put to good use.  You can contribute now via credit card by clicking on the "Donate to the  Fund" button, or by mailing your check to:

    The ALS Association Golden West Chapter
    P.O. Box 7082
    Woodland Hills, CA 91365

    (Please be sure to put “Paddling to Defeat ALS” in the memo section of your check.)

    I'm not sure how many more years my shoulders will be able to paddle 32 miles in an event, but I can tell you with complete confidence that your ongoing support makes it a lot easier, and much more motivating.  Cheers!!


    Prefer to make a donation by check? Print and submit this form with your gift.

    My Blog


    2020 means "get creative"
    During the 1st half of 2020 the prone paddleboarding community held their breath waiting to hear whether the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race was on or off. Unfortunately, LA County officials decided not to issue beach permits for beach events. Not to be deterred, a bunch of us decided to make the most of the situation and enjoy a casual, stress-free paddle across the channel on August 29th. For me, it is yet another silver lining to the pandemic by allowing me to invite my family of 4 to join together as a relay team to do the crossing and "Paddle to Defeat ALS". What an incredible experience this is going to be, and one we will remember for years to come! Life is made up of our chosen world view, and consequences from our choices. We might as well make the most of this situation and turn a lemon into delicious, thirst-quenching lemonade!

    by Thomas Horton on Fri, Aug 07, 2020 @ 2:24 PM

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    Honoring South Bay Surf Legend Mike Doyle in 2019
    Mike Doyle lost his battle with ALS on April 30, 2019 in his Cabo San Lucas home and with his wife, Annie's, company. Mike is a legend in the South Bay for his successful surfing career in and out of the water. I will be honoring Mike this year by placing a photo of him on my paddleboard so he can cross the channel with me. Mike had competed in the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race back in the 50's when it began. One of Mike's sayings is "Live to Surf, Surf to Live".
    I did not know him personally, but everyone who grew up in the South Bay and most every surfer in California who is now in their 50's and above know of him.

    by Thomas Horton on Sat, Jun 08, 2019 @ 12:09 PM

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