Ketchum Classic in Chestnut Hill raising money to fight ALS

SCORING AGAINST ALS: Laura Ketchum said her husband, Todd, “never met a sport he didn’t master.” The Newton couple, their three boys, and two English setters are known to friends and family for their love of the outdoors. Maintaining their active lifestyle, however, has become more complicated since Todd was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,  or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in October 2010.  

The founder of Agility Partners, a consulting firm in Framingham, Todd first noticed symptoms in 2009, when weakness in his right hand was thought to be arthritis, then mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome. His next step was to seek treatment for Lyme disease before he was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.

Todd, 46, uses a wheelchair and a feeding tube, and struggles to make his speech understood. He continues to rally for treatment and a cure, however, as host of the second annual Ketchum Classic tennis tournament, which will be held on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Longwood Cricket Club, 564 Hammond St. in Chestnut Hill.

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Proceeds will benefit the Cambridge-based ALS Therapy Development Institute, a research lab at which Todd and Laura’s oldest son, 16-year-old Sam, interned this summer.

The inaugural Ketchum Classic at Longwood, where the family has belonged since 2004, raised $150,000 —  three times the original goal. Next weekend’s fund-raiser will include round-robin tennis for all levels, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auctions, and a raffle for a Rolex watch.

Laura said her family is grateful for widespread support, and following Todd’s lead in remaining positive and believing that a significant breakthrough is imminent.

“We just love life, and we’re trying to live each day and do what we’ve always done,” she said, “but it’s incredibly difficult not to have Todd leading the pack.”

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WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Arlene Korab (inset below) of Westborough was working as a realtor when her 18-year-old son, Kevin, suffered a brain injury in a car accident during his freshman year of college in 1982. Two years later, she walked into a meeting of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts expecting to join a support group. Instead, she discovered she was at a meeting of the organization’s board of directors.

At the time of Kevin’s accident, Korab said, she “didn’t know anything about brain injury and didn’t know anyone who did.” However, she went on to become the BIA-MA board president in 1989 and executive director in 1992, a role through which she continues to garner nationwide recognition for supporting brain injury survivors and their families while advocating for improved community services and legislation.

Most recently, Korab was selected as Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women in recognition of her accomplishments over 20 years at the helm of the non-profit BIA-MA. While appreciative of the honors she has received, Korab said, she isn’t entirely comfortable with being singled out for recognition.

“I do this because it’s my passion,” she said. “It’s rewarding to know at the end of the day, I helped someone find the best resources for their children the way other people helped me and my son.”

THE KITCHEN IS OPEN: Sandy Folk said she and fellow Concord resident Barbara Morse worked hard to select eight distinctive venues for this year’s Concord Kitchen Tour, which takes place on Saturday.

 The stops arranged by the cocoordinators include an eco-friendly contemporary kitchen, a grand kitchen designed for entertaining, a kitchen within a remodeled Colonial tavern, and a small kitchen demonstrating an efficient use of space.

The Concord Kitchen Tour takes place every other year as a fund-raiser for Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord. Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward the church’s $5 million capital campaign, which includes the construction of a commercial kitchen in which meals can be prepared for homeless shelters and other local organizations.

Folk said she hopes participants in the tour have fun but also gain inspiration. The homes range in vintage from the 1720s to 2012, each kitchen has an adjoining dining room with table settings, floral arrangements, and two stops have food provided by local sponsors.

“Usually people who go on this have a nice home or would like to make a nice home,” she added. “We hope they come away with ideas to incorporate on their own.”

The self-guided tour will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the addresses of the homes in and around Concord available that morning at Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm St.

Tickets bought in advance cost $25, and same-day tickets cost $35. 

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HEALTHY RIDERS: For more than 20 years, Debby Sabin has worked with children and young adults through her Lovelane special-needs horseback riding program  in Lincoln.

On Saturday,  the Lincoln resident will host an event to benefit her nonprofit organization while also celebrating the success of its students, whose disabilities range from mild autism to cerebral palsy.

With the theme “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” Hoedown V will take place from 4 to 9:30 p.m. at Broad Oak Farm, 7 Burgess Lane in Dedham. The biennial event will feature the music of Grammy Award winner Tedeschi Trucks Band and the James Montgomery Blues Band, plus food by more than a dozen notable Boston chefs.

Founded in a Weston barn in 1988, Lovelane has 13 specially trained riding instructors who provide more than 4,400 individual therapeutic riding sessions each year. According to Sabin, the sessions offer participants a sense of freedom and increased confidence, while enhancing their physical, cognitive, and social development.

“We are committed to continuing a program of excellence,” she said, “and making a difference in the lives of our students and their families.”

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FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN: WBZ-TV meteorologist Melissa Mack will be the master of ceremonies for the second annual Ruby Slippers Gala, taking place Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center, 1657 Worcester Road in Framingham.

Sponsored by the MetroWest Women’s Alliance, an initiative of the United Way of Tri-County and MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, the gala highlights its contributions to women and girls in area communities. Keynote speaker Laura Schroff of New York City will discuss her book, “An Invisible Thread,” the true story of her enduring relationship with an 11-year-old boy whom she encountered panhandling nearly 30 years ago. Additional guests will include 15-year-old songwriter Hayley Reardon,  and 20-year-old jazz artist Grace Kelly of Dover.

Tickets cost $75. For registration and more information, call Leanne Cordischi at 508-370-4857, or go online to