The Origin of Tour du ALS
On September 11, 2021, hundreds of cyclists, hikers and runners will climb the French Mont Ventoux together with ALS patients. They do this to raise money for the fight against ALS. The ninth edition of this unique (and much needed) event promises to be just as special as previous years.
But how did Tour du ALS actually begin?
What was initially intended as a cycling tour in France for a private group, has resulted in an annual sporting fundraising event with the motto "Together we kick ALS out of the world".
For example, Ivan Sweebroek and Gert-Jan Pijl contacted the ALS Netherlands Foundation at the end of 2011. Gert-Jan wanted to go as a family, with his wife Irmgard as treasurer, and friends to Mont Ventoux to raise money for ALS. Irmgard's father, Gijs van de Water, suffered from this disease.
At the same time, Bernard Bos, former director of the De Oosthoek comprehensive school in Hardenberg, also contacted ALS Netherlands. One of his colleagues, 33-year-old Marlinda Tamminga, was diagnosed with ALS. She motivated Bernard to take up the challenge together with colleagues and to cycle for a good cause.
Both plans reached the ALS Netherlands Foundation, after which PR & Events manager Ineke Zaal initiated a meeting in the center of the country. Tour du ALS was soon to be a fact.
“I think the best thing is that this event originated from the family feeling with the two ALS patients as a source of inspiration,” says Gert-Jan. “We started with less than 25 people and now the 'family' has grown to hundreds of participants, ALS patients and volunteers who are making a special positive contribution to the fight against ALS.”
Tour du ALS partnered with the Stichting ALS Nederland
In 2017, the board of the Tour du ALS Foundation chose to join forces with the ALS Netherlands Foundation. For that reason, the Tour du ALS Foundation was merged into the Stichting ALS Nederland on 1 September 2017. Gert-Jan Pijl, chairman of the Tour du ALS Foundation, will remain active as a volunteer of the Stichting ALS Nederland to help realize many more great Tour editions!