Lupus Spiel USA is in its 5th year and is focused on raising $100,000 to help find a cure.
To help raise public awareness, the City Council of Blaine has recognized May 4-6, 2018 as Lupus Spiel USA Weekend in Blaine.
Mayor Tom Ryan read the proclamation during the Blaine City Council meeting Thursday, April 19 and gave Regan Birr, organizer of Lupus Spiel USA and a lupus patient herself, a chance to speak on the event's behalf. "We are raising money for lupus research to help end lupus within nine years. The support of Blaine's citizens, elected officials, and the community has elevated this event to one of the largest of its kind in the world."
Lupus Spiel USA is a professional/amateur curling tournament (or "bonspiel") where Olympic and national champion curlers are paired with curlers who play at an amateur level. It will be held May 4-6 at the Four Seasons Curling Club at Fogerty Arena, the U.S. Olympic Training Site for curling.
A flip on the usual format where one professional is paired with two amateurs, the spiel includes a special "Dream Team" exhibition game Saturday evening, May 5, open and free to the public, featuring three professionals ad one amateur curler per team.
Regan and her husband, Todd Birr, are motivated to help find a cure. This is the best way they know how. With a bronze medal from the 2007 world curling championships and a lifetime of curling under his belt, "Todd is the perfect person to have helped build this event, and his expertise has been instrumental in its growth", says Regan. "Besides, it's fun working with your husband!"
Many Olympians from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will participate, including three members of the U.S. women's team: skip Nina Roth, lead Becca Hamilton and third Tabitha Peterson. Becca Hamilton also competed for the U.S. at the PyeongChang Olympics in mixed doubles curling with her brother, Matt Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist with Team Shuster.
Two-time Olympic medalist Kevin Martin of Canada returns for the second year in a row as a celebrity skip. Martin, who retired from a 30-year competitive career in 2014, is considered by many as the greatest curler of all time. He is an Olympic gold and silver medalist, Canadian and world champion, and winner of 18 Grand Slam titles including a record eight Player's Championship titles. His teams have won over $2 million on the World Curling Tour. He was recently inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame. Martin is offering curling camps to curlers of any level prior to the Lupus Spiel. These camps will be held at the St. Paul Curling Club, the Chaska Curling Center, and the Four Seasons Curling Club at Fogerty Arena in Blaine. Signup is available at www.letscurelupus.org.
"We will be close", says Regan, "but we still need help in getting there." Her goal is to bring in people interested in the helping the cause, including lupus patients and their families. Regan says, "We are aiming to find a donor willing to make a match. This can include corporations, individuals, or anybody who wants to help us reach our goal."
She continues, "The exciting thing about this organization is we are focused on a cure and are giving ourselves a timeline. Pair that with an amazing Olympic sport, that is catching the world by fire, and you've got a great event and business model". Combined with community partnerships, Regan says the Lupus Research Foundation is off to a healthy start. The foundation is a newly-formed 501(c)(3) and hosts the spiel, as well as upcoming satellite Lupus Spiel locations and other fundraisers. "Curling has been a God-send in my life, and I want to share it with everybody. We're looking for people to join us. We believe in what we're doing and are excited to put it ?out there.'"
Lupus Spiel USA also provides an opportunity to hear about the latest findings. One of the leading researchers in lupus, Dr. Timothy Niewold, will be speaking at the event on Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Banquet tickets are $50 each and can be purchased at www.letscurelupus.org. Other very special guests include Katie Gundlach, lupus patient and advocate, who will share her experience with lupus and how research is making a big difference in her life.
Spectators are welcome to watch Lupus Spiel USA at no charge. Fogerty Arena is located at 9250 Lincoln St. NE in Blaine. For more information about the spiel and the Lupus Research Foundation, call Regan at 720 470 8049, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.letscurelupus.org.