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Fundraising effort stays on course

As Brad Schreck began his 41st hole of golf Thursday, he was feeling good.

He figured the pain would come today, but on Thursday there were few aches as he played 55 holes of golf on his 55th birthday as a fundraiser for ALS research.

"I feel fine, but later on.. ," Schreck said with a smile.

He should be helped today by a 90-minute massage at Beau Monde, which was donated by one of his fivesome, David Wheeler, who owns the spa with wife, Michele.

Schreck, the corporate recruitment chair for the Wichita office of the ALS Association, hoped to raise $10,000.

"I sent out a mailing to all my clients, to the Flint Hills membership," said Schreck, who has worked at Schreck Financial Group for 29 years. "It's not just to ask for money, but to do something fun and special for a good cause."

Schreck has seen friends succumb to the effects of ALS, a debilitating disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

"It's hideous," Schreck said of ALS. "I've heard it described as you're trapped in your own body. Your mind knows what's going on.... A lot of money goes into it, and they have a lot of research, but they can't seem to make the progress."

For Schreck, golfing on his birthday couldn't have been any better. It was a nice day with cloud cover and much cooler temperatures than earlier in the week.

At the Wichita Country Club, where he played the final 18 holes with four longtime friends, his cart had a sign on it that said "Happy birthday Schrecky."

Schreck started his day with a 6:45 a.m. tee time at Flint Hills National Golf Club. He played 37 holes with Dave Henson, Flint Hills' director of golf, and Henson's brother, Steve. Their mother died of ALS.

"It was fast," Schreck said of those 37 holes. "There was no one out there and it wasn't golf where we socialized."

Afterward Schreck showered, changed and headed to River City Brewery, where he spoke at an ALS fundraiser kickoff lunch. The culmination of the fundraiser is the ALS walk on Sept. 18.

He then headed over to the Wichita Country Club, where he teed off at about 1:25 p.m.

His friends immediately teased him about the paparazzi following him in the form of a reporter and photographer.

Wheeler told him while on the green of the first hole, "You better mark that one, birthday boy."

After Schreck parred the hole, he raised his arms in the air.

"I'm just an average golfer," said Schreck, who played basketball at West Texas State after graduating from Kapaun Mount Carmel in 1973.

That Schreck had planned 55 holes in the middle of July didn't seem all that crazy to his friend Don Kennedy, who first met him while playing basketball at the YMCA.

"I'm not sure 'crazy' is the right word," said Kennedy, while waiting to tee off at the Wichita Country Club. "He's playing for a good cause, and it's on his birthday.... It's a perfect day to raise a little money."

But Kennedy had no desire to play the whole 55 with Schreck.

"I wasn't real excited about that," Kennedy said. "I wanted the last 18."

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