ALS, Amyothotropic Lateral Scherosis, also known as Lou Gehirg’s disease, is a terrible disease that takes away a person’s ability to move, speak, swallow and breathe. It eventually takes their life. If you’ve ever known and loved someone with ALS you know how horrible it is. It is a death sentence. People only live three to five years after the diagnosis. There is no cure….yet. This is where you come in. The Les Turner ALS Foundation is a local group that works to provide a variety of services for people and families dealing with this disease. They also raise funds to support research to develop new treatments and hopefully someday a cure.
Some of you may have shopped at the Mammoth Music Mart. For 25 years they pitched a big tent in a parking lot at Old Orchard Center in Skokie. Every year, Dick Clark would come and kick off the week, and we XRT DJ’s would come out to help sell thousands of records, cassettes and other musical treasures. That’s where I first became aware of this disease. I remember Gehrig’s “I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech, but this contact really brought it home to me. Then a few years ago I got to know an XRT listener living with ALS. I’ve met some brave people in my life. Sandy was one of the best. Her husband and friends were amazing as well. After Sandy died, the folks at Les Turner asked if I would be the Honorary Spokesperson for ALS month. I am doing that in Sandy’s memory, and for all the others in our XRT family that are dealing with ALS. For decades I have seen how generous and responsive XRT listeners are. When we announce an event or a need, you folks come through. So if you’d like to get involved, I’ve got some ideas for you.
Good place to start is the website for Les Turner. http://www.lesturnerals.org. They have a ton of information on how you can get involved with their events, how you can learn more about the disease, and how you can donate to support their services.
You can find information on their Tag Day drives this month. Volunteers will be at a variety of places in the city and suburbs throughout this month collecting donations to support the work of the Les Turner ALS Foundation. Check the website for dates and locations.
They will hold a Walk For Life September 22nd at Soldier Field. They need walkers, volunteers and donors. There will be a Strike Out ALS 5K run in July at US Cellular Field. The website has a list of events that friends and family members have organized, so you can support them by showing up or putting together your own event and letting them know about it. And once again, Lin Brehmer will be hosting an outing to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The pre-game party and auction will be held at the Vic Theatre, and there will be a live acoustic performance by Dan Navarro of Lowen and Navarro. Eric Lowen died in March of complications of ALS. He was only 60. Eric and Dan have been longtime friends of Lin, me and others on the XRT staff. To have Dan perform at this event will be very special. So join Lin, Dan and Keith Van Horne of the Chicago Bears (hope he wears his Super Bowl ring!).
To get tickets for this event and to find out more about ALS and how you can get involved, again, visit their website, http://www.lesturnerals.org.
Anything you can do will be appreciated. In fact, if you get involved and would like to let me know, or if you have an experience with ALS and would like to share, please do. I’d like to know and you might inspire some other folks. Our own profiles in courage.
If you’re not moved yet, I dare you to watch these three videos.