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The University of La Verne’s Phi Delta Theta Chapter, in partnership with the ALS Association Golden Chapter, helped set a new precedent for the annual Inland Empire Walk after raising more than $87,400 to help defeat ALS.
When setting a goal, there usually is no better reward than the satisfaction of achieving it. But what happens when the goal is exceeded? In the many cases of patients living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it means moving that much closer to a cure.
On Sunday, September 30, 2012 the streets of La Verne were filled with more than 1,200 participants in the 9th Annual Inland Empire Walk to Defeat ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.)
This year’s goal was to raise $60,000 for the ALS Association to help fund research about the disease and to provide care services for patients living in the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
With the help of community supporters, family and friends of local ALS patients and the University of La Verne’s chapter of Phi Delta Theta, more than $87,400 was raised for the cause – an unprecedented amount for the Inland Empire Walk. And that number is still growing.
“We had more walkers than ever before, more teams than ever before, we raised more funds than ever before, and we had more people living with ALS at the walk than ever before,” said Jamie Aronson, who coordinates the Inland Empire Walk for the ALS Association Golden Chapter.
For more than a decade, members of Phi Delta Theta across the globe have raised awareness and money for ALS in honor of Lou Gehrig, who was a member of Columbia University’s fraternity chapter.
The University of La Verne is one of few colleges that has a Phi Delta Theta local chapter and since its members are dedicated to ALS philanthropy projects, it was important for the ALS Association Golden West Chapter to make the connection to La Verne.
Members of Phi Delta Theta, as well as other La Verne students, were instrumental in coordinating several functions of the event, which included arranging for food and water and cheering on the walkers, 24 of whom were individuals currently living with ALS.
“We all enjoyed helping out for the walk,” said John Leggett, Jr., president of Phi Delta Theta at La Verne. “Seeing everyone having a great time and coming out to support the great cause that we are so passionate about made the day special.”
ALS is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing victims to lose their ability to move, speak, swallow and eventually the ability to breathe, while all five senses continue to function normally.
The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis. It can strike anyone, at any time. Currently, there is no known cause or cure. In the later stages of the disease, the annual costs for home care and necessary equipment can exceed $200,000 per year.
Of 1,200 walkers, 62 teams participated in the walk, for which funds are still being collected until January 31, 2013.
“I lost my Grandma to ALS in 2007, and it has truly been an honor to work with a community who is so passionate about this cause,” Aronson said.
The ALS Golden West Chapter serves people with ALS and their families in 31 counties in California. To make a donation, visit www.walktodefeatals.org or call (818) 865 -8067.