Wave Heroes 2023
We would like to introduce you to:
Wave hero Angelique van der Lit's strength and positivity is an inspiration to her entire team. Since 2018, she has been diagnosed with ALS. From then on, the team has been committed by taking action in various ways. From the Local Swim IJsselstein, Tour du ALS to this year's Amsterdam City Swim. The team has a different composition for each action, but the goal is always the same: to raise as much money as possible for ALS. Angelique is the driving force behind these initiatives and would love to nominate her team as Wave Hero.
Since being diagnosed, Angelique has not sat idly by. She is committed to ALS in various ways. For instance, she is involved in the ALS patients' association and is a member of several organisations related to ALS. A true wave hero in other words!
Want to read more? Angelique regularly writes blogs. You can find them on the team page.
Bart Beermann was nominated by his wife Judit Beermann. Bart was a tremendous bon vivant and became ill in 2015. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 53. He is the father of Puck and Sofie. To a lot of people he was an example because he approached everyone without prejudice. He was always genuinely interested in people.
In 2022, his children jumped into the Amsterdam canals. And in 2016, Bart encouraged his wife. This year, they are of the party again in memory of their beloved husband and father.
For years, Berry Everts worked at QPS doing drug research. After many years of hard and enthusiastic work, in the summer of 2021 Berry developed all sorts of vague symptoms. After a long period of all kinds of investigations, the diagnosis of ALS came out in January 2022.
During this complicated and sad period, the bond with several colleagues grew into friendship.
Berry is still actively committed to QPS and drug research. Fortunately, in addition, there is still plenty of time for sociability and merriment.
Conny van der Heijden has been diagnosed with ALS for over twenty years. She has not been complacent from the beginning and volunteers for numerous organizations. She represents people with ALS/PLS/PSMA during the ACS patient consultation.
Conny is a radiant presence and always smiling. If you ask her what a great success what during the Amsterdam City Swim she likes to joke about the bus experience: 'We got a lot of attention in the middle of the center of Amsterdam, because a bus came full of people with bare upper bodies! The swimmers who were brought to the start.'
Eelco van Koningsveld is Wave Hero of the Amsterdam City Swim. In the short period that he had ALS (December 2009 - October 2011), he devoted himself to giving ALS a face, to ensure greater understanding and awareness. By giving lectures, interviews on the radio, TV, magazines and newspapers, he tried to achieve this.
Characteristic of Eelco was the full speed and conviction with which he lived. Thus, his favorite quote was "Life is irrepeatable finite. Which stands for: Enjoy while you still can, you don't know tomorrow what awaits you. Especially with ALS, this is the case.
Together with his wife, Eelco founded the ALS Foundation on the road to ensure that people with ALS can get tools to make memories and stay mobile. These aids are not covered by health insurance or WMO. Part of the donations raised from the Amsterdam City Swim will go to this Foundation.
Last year, Ellen was diagnosed with bulbar ALS. With a large team, she jumped into the Amsterdam canals and covered the 2.1 km.
Last year, she did not expect to participate this year as well. But she is back in the race with a big team.
Ellen is athletic, a real go-getter and does not shy away from difficulties.
In her working life she was a fundraiser and estate manager at Greenpeace Netherlands. And as she so beautifully says herself: 'Once a fundraiser, always a fundraiser'.
Evert Bolderheij is Wave Hero. He was a lifelong member of the Futen and paddled there until he was 76. He was an entrepreneur, race car driver and rally driver, but most of all a husband, father and grandfather. He took many great trips, including driving a Volvo Amazon through South America and a Mazda MX5 from Amsterdam to Singapore. In 1986, he drove Paris-Dakar.
Before Christmas 2021, he was diagnosed with ALS and passed away in March 2023. From a fit seventy-year-old, he was rapidly deteriorating. He loved speed a lot, this unfortunately went a little too fast.
Last year Evert was waiting for the swimmers at the finish line. This year, unfortunately, he cannot be there. 20 co-eds are swimming for Evert this year with Team AZ & PC De Futen. His son-in-law Michael and granddaughter Veerle are swimming in the Optimix Handelsbanken team.
Frank Claassen was diagnosed with PSMA in April 2013. He knew from the beginning that it was going to be an unfair and unsportsmanlike race that could not be won. "Eager to win my races. What a helpless battle against this terrible muscle disease. Every week it was a setback upon setback, but fortunately he fully enjoyed what was still possible, with his positivity and humor! A life expectancy of 5 to 10 years became unfortunately only 1. On April 23, 2014 he lost the battle and his dear family members and friends had to say goodbye.
Team The Loenas against ALS is swimming along in memory of Frank and to raise as much money as possible for ALS.
Meet Wavehero Geert Jongeneel. In 2018, Geert Jongeneel was diagnosed with ALS. He works as a system administrator at GGZ institution Eleos in Hoevelaken. He remains active at work, using speech computer and mouse with his foot. He is married to Barbara Veling and together they have three children: Kars (18), Naomi (17) and Emma (13). Geert has a positive attitude, loves people and sociability.
The life of Geert and his family is captured by documentary maker ren director Olaf Koelewijn. Every six months an episode of this series is published: 'If everything changes'.
Hans Vis is an incredibly involved and committed person to all his colleagues and it is mutual. Cavero is diving into the canals for ALS and for Hans who has been diagnosed with ALS since last August. He is a real fighter and a positive and special person.
Henk Lunsing suffers from PLS. Normally Henk is not to be seen in the water, but rather on his tricycle recumbent or in the wheelchair with his front-mounted handbike. Last year his son Marijn participated in the ACS and during the ceremony Henk was so moved by their achievement that he would like to participate himself. He starts this year in wave 19. Henk and his son Marijn can be spotted in the commercial of Amsterdam City Swim 2023. Last year, Supporter van Sport (Univé) made a video of Henk and his son Marijn.
Hennie Klein Gunnewiek died on 23 December 2021 as a result of ALS. Hennie had a fine group of carers around him, whom he called Sisters Klivia. They were able to care for him at home until the end of his life. Hennie was a very colourful person, born in a small village in the east of the country, but coming home to the rainbow community of Amsterdam! The sisters remain committed to eliminating ALS from the world.
Jan Braas was diagnosed with ALS in 1998, from which he died in 2004. His son Arne likes to put him in the limelight and looks back. During the illness, Jan always saw the positives, always opportunities to still be able to do something while he had just taken another step backwards. He had always worked as a customs officer until a few months before his death, until he developed ALS. When that was no longer possible, he became a supervisor of the construction of new vessels. He was able to keep doing his job thanks to aids like a fully adapted bus, control of his computer via a laser, but especially thanks to the support of his wife, my mother.
Arne has participated in every edition of the Amsterdam City Swim, since 2014 his girlfriend has also swum every edition, his sister has also regularly jumped into the canals.
In January 2020, the diagnosis of ALS was confirmed to everyone's dismay.
The disease seized Johan at lightning speed and took a little more away from him every day. Since we live in Switzerland, he found the French description "la maladie des milles adieus", "the disease of saying goodbye 1,000 times", very apt.
Always an active, sporty and driven man, Johan fought against deterioration with enormous courage, positivity and dignity, trying to make something good out of every day left to him. It gave us the opportunity to spend many more beautiful and important moments together.
Johan inspired many people because of the way he dealt with his illness but unfortunately could not win this battle and passed away on 5 August 2021.
To spare others this suffering, we, Marian, Arthur and Frederik, wife and sons, want to do our part to find a therapy. We participated in the 2022 ACS for the first time with a team of 10 people in which we raised 16000 euros. This year, we hope to at least match this.
We are sure Johan would have been proud of all the participants in his Team.
Before he was diagnosed with ALS, Johan was an entrepreneur, developing fiber optic networks in outlying areas in the northeastern Netherlands. Since his diagnosis, he has been using the skills he learned as an entrepreneur to set up ALS Caregivers. A foundation that can help all ALS patients get as much as possible out of their final years as long as possible. Curious about how this foundation does this, visit www.alszorgregelaars.nl
Meet Wave Hero Kitty Loonstijn. Nominated by her colleague Charlotte, she is described as the most exuberantly cheerful, sweet colleague you could wish for. One of those colleagues who always comes to work in a good mood and for whom no job is too much or too tough. During lockdown, for instance, she transformed her house into a pick-up point for our customers. Nothing is too crazy for her. She was diagnosed with ALS last year and has been fighting hard against her disease ever since.
Meet Michel Heij. He, too, is this year's Wave Hero. On August 30, 2012, Michel was diagnosed with ALS. Since then, his life has changed considerably. Despite the disease he is and remains fortunately fairly stable and Michel ticks the 11 years with ALS in August.
Michel has a positive outlook on life and is a funny and powerful man. A real go-getter who does not give up.
In Wave 13 they swim together and for Michel!
Michiel Scheeren was diagnosed with ALS in April 2021. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to fight the disease he is personally affected by. For instance, he is a board member of the ALS patients' association and regularly participates in actions and events. Last year he was also a Wave Hero and this year more than 20 people are swimming in Team Scheeren!
Natascha Olivier is Wave Hero. She was told in July 2019 that she was suffering from the nerve disease ALS. Natas has always been a positive woman and even during her illness, she really carried the disease. How she dealt with it is really very special, you never heard her complain. She was always very interested in other people. She also knew that a cure would be too late for her, but she hoped that in the future there would be a cure so that other people would not have the same thing happen to them as her. Unfortunately, Natas passed away from ALS in late October 2022 and her friend Sowie still misses her every day. Team Natascha hopes that in the future this does not have to happen to other people and that is why they are swimming with them this year.
Born and raised on the Westerschelde estuary, Peter Platschorre could always be found in and on the water. Learning to swim was done on a rope around your waist right into the harbor! For many years he also intensely enjoyed fishing and sailing on the Scheldt and having drinks on the waterfront.
Peter was always there for another and was always there for everyone until ALS in 2017 made him more and more dependent on everyone. Many family members and friends and especially his wife and daughters were now his support day and night. He kept his tremendous sense of humor and managed to stay very positive in life until the last moment. Unfortunately, he lost the battle against ALS. His family and friends are jumping into the canals to call attention to
the debilitating disease and to honor Peter for all he has meant to them.
If the doctors are correct, Rutger de Graaf now has PLS for 30 years. In his words, "the dear brother of ALS. He has feeling in his legs, but he can no longer use them functionally. Rutger is a favorite swimmer of the Amsterdam City Swim, as he was involved all edition.
Vincent Cornelissen is certainly not to be missed as a Wave Hero. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, and since then his enterprising personality has kept him full of dedication: from organizing the ALS Spring Run in his hometown of Bilthoven, chairing the ALS Patients Association to writing the book "Golden Rain - chronicle of a bon vivant with ALS.
His daughter Karlien is swimming in Team Deloitte this year.
Wave Heroes wanted
Would you like to put your loved one who is fighting (or was fighting) ALS/PLS/PSMA in the spotlight by nominating him or her as a Wave Hero? Let us know and share your story!