The ALS Association is asking local residents to come and walk to raise money and awareness to defeat ALS, which is also known Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease. The ALS Association for the Walk to D'Feet ALS will hold its sixth annual event this year on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Eisenhower Park beginning at 10:45 a.m.
As they have for the past six years, the Hicksville team of Ken's Kids/Joanne's Friends will walk in honor of residents Kevin Drummond, a 1978 graduate of Hicksville High School, and Ken McGinniss, former Hicksville High School social studies chairperson and Joanne Brendel, former Hicksville High School guidance counselor who passed away June 25. This year's walk will also be in memory of the late James Gould, a 1977 graduate of Hicksville High School; and Faranak Moir, wife of Hicksville High School social worker Peter Moir.
According to Team Captain Marge McCarthy, retired secretary at Hicksville High School and a resident of Farmingdale, the team has, over the past five years, raised over $50,000. Overall, the 2005 Walk to D'Feet ALS raised over $800,000 and the goal for this year is to surpass that and raise $1 million. Such a large number is possible with community support. "We can and will with your help," said McCarthy.
To join the Team of Ken's Kids/Joanne's Friends or to make a monetary donation to the ALS Association for help finding a cure, contact Marge McCarthy at 752-3610. Any and every donation will be greatly appreciated and the hope is that, through generosity, a cure will one day be found.
ALS is a fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by degeneration of a select group of nerve cells and pathways to the brain and spinal cord, which leads to progressive paralysis of the muscles. To date, there is no cure and the exact cause is unknown. The most common form of motor neuron disease, ALS strikes an estimated two to seven out of every 100,000 persons in the United States. Approximately 5,600 people in the US are diagnosed with ALS each year, which equates to 15 diagnosed each day. Approximately five to 10 percent of all ALS cases are hereditary.
Allergic responses, infectious and/or viral agents have been proposed as possible causes of this disorder, but none has been proven. Research thus far has failed to establish any definite cause, although slow-acting viruses have been suspected and, in a small percentage of cases, a genetic link might be involved. No specific treatment yet exists, and patients can be aided only by supportive therapy.
Currently, the ALS Association (ALSA) is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. It carries out its mission at the national level and through its nationwide network of chapters and support groups. ALSA and its chapters commit more funds annually to ALS research and patient care than any other independent, voluntary health organization. Proceeds from the walk will support aggressive research initiatives to find a cure for ALS and local patient service programs.
As one of ALSA's leading chapters, the Greater New York Chapter plays a major role in promoting the mission of ALSA by funding aggressive, cutting-edge research to find a cure that utilizes the newest techniques and fosters collaborative initiatives among government agencies, the private sector and scientists.