Golfers hit the ice for multiple sclerosis

Greg Kowalski, Darcie James and Kevin James are helping organize the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendent Association MS charity gala banquet and hockey game on Jan. 28.  - Charla Huber/News staff
Greg Kowalski, Darcie James and Kevin James are helping organize the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendent Association MS charity gala banquet and hockey game on Jan. 28.
— image credit: Charla Huber/News staff

After waking up one day with numb thighs, Darcie James’s life has been a tough battle.

She was diagnosed in 2001 with multiple sclerosis and she has been unable to work since the diagnosis.

“It’s crazy. (Multiple sclerosis) attacks the central nervous system,” Darcie said. “Day by day I don’t know what body part won’t work.”

For her ongoing struggle, Darcie experiences numbness, tingling and vibrations throughout her body. Multiple sclerosis affects her vision, bladder and even her thought process.

With the stress on her body mentally and physical Darcie struggles with fatigue.

“It’s not just waking up tired it’s pure exhaustion,” Darcie said.

“The fatigue is a huge thing,” added Darcie’s husband Kevin James.

With MS a prevalent part of each day, the couple finds hope though events such as the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendent Association multiple sclerosis gala banquet and hockey game.

“It is pretty incredible,” said Darcie who helps organize the event along with her husband.

The golf superintendent fundraiser opens with a hockey game at Bear Mountain arena in Colwood in the afternoon, followed by a banquet at the Westin Bear Mountain hotel in the evening. The event includes a live auction, a silent auction and a raffle.

“It’s just a feel good event,” Darcie said.

Bear Mountain arena will be open from 12:30 to 1 p.m. for a public family skate and then the charity hockey game will begin at 1:15 p.m.

Hockey players will include golf course superintendents, golf professionals and people employed in other aspects of the golf industry.

The family skating portion and admission to watch the game is open to anyone and no donation is required. “We just want people to come out and watch the game,” said Greg Kowalski, superintendent with the Royal Oak Golf Club and event organizer.

This is the fifth year for the event that started out with humble beginnings. The first year the event raised $8,500 and last year was able to generate $110,000.

“Our goal this year is to raise $115,000 and we want to help people locally,” Kowalski said. “The more money we raise, the more (researchers) will know and eventually they’ll figure out (a cure).”

All money raised at this event will stay within the South Island chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

“I honestly and truly believe there will be something (in MS research) in Darcie’s lifetime that will affect her life in a positive way,” Kevin said.

“When MS is cured or is no longer an issue, VIGSA will continue to give back but it will be a different charity,” Kowalski said.

The hockey game and banquet are on Jan. 28.

The pre-banquet reception at the Westin Bear Mountain hotel, 1999 Country Club Way is from 5 to 6:45 pm. The banquet runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and is followed by the dance and other celebrations from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Tickets are $75 per person and $700 for a table

For tickets contact Michelle Keenlyside at 778-426-3346 or or contact Dean Piller at 250-883-3636 or




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