A total of $8,000 has been raised for the ALS Association from the Walk to Defeat ALS held at Lions Club Park in Rolla Saturday morning.
The amount raised this year is up from last year’s event, which raised $6,745.
The local event has grown each year in both the number of participants and amounts raised.
Organizers with the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter estimated that about 150 people attended the local walk.
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In 1939, baseball player Lou Gehrig brought attention to the disease when he was diagnosed with the condition.
Doug Barrett, an ALS patient, cut the ribbon during a ceremony to kick off the walk.
The walk in Rolla was one of 180 walks scheduled this year by ALS Association chapters nationwide to increase awareness for ALS and raise funds for local patient programs and national research.
ALS affects about 6,000 Americans each year. Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
There is currently no cure for ALS and the cause is undetermined. ALS is usually fatal within two to five years after diagnosis.
When the motor neurons die, as with ALS, the brain’s ability to start and control muscle movement dies with them. With all voluntary muscle action affected, patients in the later stages are totally paralyzed. In most cases, their minds remain unaffected.
Over the last year, the number of patients that the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter serves increased approximately 13 percent.
The ALS Association provides patients and families with respite care; equipment loan, family mentor, augmentive communication and assistive technology programs; nutritional supplement, transportation and emergency assistance.
Caregiver recognition, community partnership programs and a pen pal program for children also are provided.
The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter provides programs and services at no cost to the ALS patients and their families in eastern Missouri and central and southern Illinois.