Dale Clark and Ursula Quoyeser – Third Annual Fin Feather Fur Food Festival Benefiting Team Gleason Foundation for People Living with ALS

Dale Clark and Ursula Quoyeser join us today to discuss the third annual Fin Feather Fur Food Festival benefiting the Team Gleason Foundation for people living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (“ALS”).

Team Gleason Foundation was founded by Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saints safety who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Since its inception that same year, Team Gleason has provided over $40 million to people living with ALS, supplying critically needed mobility equipment such as shower chairs, wheelchair accessories, and power seat elevators, as well as speech generating devices for those who have lost the ability to speak.

Dale Clark is a Lafayette native who works as an engineer for Badger Oil. He was diagnosed with ALS in October of 2020. Ursula Quoyeser is also a Lafayette native and was an educator and coach at ESA and other schools before being diagnosed with ALS in July of 2023.

The Festival, known as F5, is a cooking competition where teams compete in the Fin, Feather, Fur or Dessert divisions, along with an auction featuring items such as season tickets to UL-Lafayette’s four major sports, framed jerseys of Drew Brees and Jake Delhomme, a pellet grill with wifi, and much more. Tickets are $45 each and entitle you to taste all 45 teams’ food entries along with beer and wine included.

F5 was started by Dale and his good friend, Joe Bernard, as a way to help people living with ALS. “Team Gleason was the obvious choice,” says Dale, and Joe had experience hosting other F5 events for oil and gas industry charitable fundraisers. Last year F5 raised $170,000 and in the previous inaugural year, $168,000. This year, F5 will be held at Blackham Coliseum on Thursday, April 25, from 4 to 8 pm. That day also features Festival International and Dale encourages people to drop by Blackham Coliseum first before heading out to a night of musical entertainment.

You can purchase tickets to F5 by visiting https://www.facebook.com/events/787195629932250

About 5,000 people in the U. S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. It is difficult to diagnose and is often diagnosed by ruling out other diseases, which can take months or years. There is no cure for ALS, which is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in which a person’s brain loses connection with the muscles. Symptoms start with a progressive loss of muscle control. ALS kills motor neurons, causing muscles to weaken and eventually paralyze. People with ALS lose their ability to walk, talk, eat and in time, breathe. The average life expectancy is 2 to 5 years once diagnosed. 10% of cases are inherited through a mutated gene; the remaining 90% of cases occur without a family history of ALS. Military veterans are more likely to get ALS. For more information, visit https://www.als.org/

Baseball great Lou Gehrig is one of the iconic heroes who was famously diagnosed with ALS in 1938. He went on to play baseball for a full year before retiring on July 4, 1939, giving his “Luckiest Man” speech. Each year, Lou Gehrig Day is celebrated on June 2 by Major League Baseball, marking the day he became the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees.

Here at home, Dale and Ursula are bravely facing ALS and doing all they can to help others with the disease, as well as working to keep up their strength. Dale is relatively lucky, having only lost the use of his right arm and developing hoaresness. Ursula exercises daily by going to Red’s Health Club and riding her incumbent bike alongside her Aussie Doodle, who wears goggles in sun to protect its eyes. They both have incredible attitudes and want to do all they can to raise awareness of ALS among us here in Acadiana. They are also both patients of Dr. Stanley H. Appel, a world-renowned neurologist at Houston Methodist, who has been at the forefront of ALS research for decades. In his 90’s, Dr. Appel is still working to find a cure for ALS.

To all of my awesome family and all my amazing friends, I will be participating in the Crescent City Classic this coming Saturday! I am excited to help raise $ for Team Gleason’s ALS Foundation by participating in this event. This is a 10k run but I will have the opportunity to use my recumbent trike, (yes, I feel so lucky)! If you would like to make a donation that will go to Team Gleason please use the link below. Thank you all for the support you have shown me throughout my life in all I have done and most importantly since I have been diagnosed with ALS. https://runsignup.com/Race/65952/Donate/ganDgAvPo90t9EO5

Posted by Ursula Quoyeser on Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Advice from Dale and Ursula for persons afflicted with ALS: First, inform your nearest fire station. In the event you have a power outage, the fireman can help by bringing a generator to your house to assist in keeping your electronics running. Also, Waffle House always has electricity, so if you need a place to plug in your equipment, that is a reliable place to go. Ursula also shared that all people with ALS carry a card identifying their condition; in the event they are stopped while driving, the police officer will know their slurred speech or weakness is not a symptom of impaired driving, but of ALS.

Discover Lafayette thanks Dale Clark and Ursula Quoyeser for a heartwarming discussion of ALS. We can all make a difference by donating AND supporting the upcoming F5 festival on April 25, 2024!