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Area Golf: New event to raise MS awareness

Jasmine Winkelman has taken her ambassadorship to a whole new level.

This spring's MS (multiple sclerosis) Walk ambassador hasn't taken her duties as a spokesperson for the charity sitting down. In fact, sitting down is the last thing this mother of two wants to do.

"It was life changing," Winkelman said about when she was first diagnosed in 2010. "It changes the way you have to live your life. As much as you don't want it to, it does. That's OK. I let it change me for the better. It lets me appreciate life more. I value every second with my boys. Now we're always walking to the park because I might not be able to walk there tomorrow."

While the MS walk at Northland Arboretum was a start to help finding a cure, Winkelman wanted to do more. That's where her dad stepped in. Outdoor enthusiast and television personality Babe Winkelman came up with the idea for the "Golf Against MS" event scheduled for July 19 at Cragun's Legacy Courses.

The four-player scramble will begin with an 8 a.m. shotgun start on the Dutch Legacy with lunch to follow. The entry fee is $125 per player and includes golf with GPS cart, a sleeve of golf balls, range balls and lunch. Mulligans may be purchased prior to teeing off. Unlike other golf scramble fundraisers, this one, of course, will incorporate a true outdoors feel.

"This is a nontypical golf event," said tournament contact and organizer Greg Kaiser. "We're getting a lot of participation from our outdoor contacts. Polaris is providing a Sportsman ACE ATV for one of the hole-in-one prizes. We have a lot of Cabela's gift cards. Field Logic is having a lot of different games on holes where people can shoot a bow at targets before they play a hole. St. Croix Rods is having a casting game. So there are different things to do while you golf."

Proceeds will go to the MS Society. Jasmine Winkelman said she'd be happy with $100, but said her dad is hoping for numbers in the thousands.

"I'm just happy to do anything to do my part," said Winkelman. "The MS Society has done a lot for me. The whole thing started when they nominated me to be the walk ambassador. I had a conversation with my dad about what more I could do to help bring awareness and raise some money. For a long time he has done a golf tournament for ALS, so he thought we could do one for MS. So his office and I have been trying to put this together. It's a brand new thing for me. But I hope it brings awareness."

Winkelman's battle with MS has created a monster. In an earlier interview she said she started living for the first time when she was diagnosed. Now she's hoping to help others live, too. She started an MS support group that meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month at Access North. For more information on that, contact Winkelman at 218-839-1774.

She wants to do her part, but her part for the golf tournament may be limited.

"I don't golf," she said.

And while the tournament will have the usual competitive element, the goal of the event is about raising awareness of MS.

"It's going to be competitive, but Black Bear has a prize for last place," said Kaiser. "Really this is about gaining and raising awareness for MS. We're trying to make it fun for everyone from the hard core golfer, to the outdoors community and anyone just interested in the cause.

"We have a fundraising goal and people who don't want to golf can make donations to the MS Society. We also have hole sponsorships still available. So there are other ways to get involved. It's going to be a good day."

For more information or to register, contact Kaiser at 218-851-6828 or

Winkelman's message about MS remains the same.

"(MS) doesn't have to make life worse," she said. "It can make life better. It might be a different life, but that's OK. ... Let it change your life. It's OK. Sometimes we need that change."

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
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