Written by Andrea Watson Friday, 19 April 2013 00:00
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.
John B. Thomson, Jr., a long-time member of our community, has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. John was the inspiration for the Manhasset Bay Fall Series, started in 1979 to promote big boat racing in Western Long Island Sound when racing conditions were the best (read good wind). John is also known around the world for his sailing/racing achievements. A few years ago, his three children organized a birthday party for their father, and the place was packed with sailors/racers who came from Newport, the west coast and international harbors to celebrate and honor this remarkable man.
On Sat., May 4, at Pier 45 on the Hudson River, there will be a walk for ALS. John’s children are organizing their team again this year. It is called Team Juliet Brave Tango Infinity (JBT Forever). Last year was a huge success. Team JBTF had the biggest number of walkers and the highest fundraising of any team entered into the race. This year the Thomson kids (who are all grown up now) are reaching out to more people with a goal to raise even more than last year. According to Scott Thomson, the youngest of the three siblings, “this year has seen more advances in the fight against ALS. Our efforts made a difference. The world is beginning to take notice of this silent killer.”
Scott continues, “Friends, family or anyone whom John has touched throughout his life are invited to join us in support of this cause. We would love to get as many people possible to join us for the walk on May 4th, 2013. If you are not able to actually do the walk, you are still invited to come and show your support. We will have tee-shirts made up for everyone to wear so we can take a group picture before the start of the race. Additionally, we will be presenting special gifts to the top ten fundraisers within the team AND to the top ten donors. We know not everyone can make it to the walk, so we ask that you make a donation. Any amount is welcome since every penny will go towards finding a cure for ALS.
Hope to see you in NYC on May 4th.