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ALS Walk raises money and awareness of deadly disease - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

ALS Walk raises money and awareness of deadly disease

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Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 1:00 am

More than a thousand participants raised $101,556 to help combat ALS at the annual “Ocean City Board...Walk to Defeat ALS” fundraiser Saturday morning, Sept. 25. Funds will go to support the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association.

“It’s grown beyond our belief,” said Bob Goudie, who spearheaded the Ocean City walk nine years ago after his wife, Jo Ann, was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a fatal degenerative neurological disease that progressively weakens the brain’s motor neurons, which impairs the brain’s ability to initiate and control muscle movement. According to the ALS Association’s website, a patient lives about two to five years after being diagnosed. Jo Ann Goudie died in 2002.

“It’s a death sentence, there’s no hope,” said Arlene, who was walking in memory of her sister Lorraine Balaker who died in 2008. “They need to raise funds for more research, if people can come together.”

Though the ALS Association estimated that the disease affects 30,000 Americans at any given time, some walkers felt that the disease was largely unheard of.

“This disease needs so much help because a lot of people don’t know what it is,” said Karen Lynch, whose husband, Kieran, has been diagnosed with ALS. “It’s nice to see a lot of people come out to support this.... There’s not a lot of funding, and it requires a lot of care.”

“ALS doesn’t get exposure like other diseases do, and it should,” said Lynn Foglio, the walk’s honored guest who was diagnosed with ALS in April 2009.

“I hope this raises money to find a cure,” added Lynn’s husband, Steve Foglio, “The ALS association is one that really supports its patients in every way.” Foglio added that the ALS Association has been able to provide mental health resources to Lynn and their family.

Jennifer Crowley, whose brother-in-law, Dave Bryan, was afflicted with ALS, added that the ALS Association has helped alleviate her brothers’ medical costs, paid for parking tickets from doctors’ appointments, and allowed their family to attend a Phillies baseball game to help the family spend time together. Crowley added that she was excited to see the large crowds at the 2010 walk, which she estimated to be the biggest one yet. “It’s amazing,” said Crowley. “Hopefully there’s a cure somewhere in the near future.”

“It appears to get bigger every year,” said Frank Quigley, who has been participating for the last three years in memory of his wife, Grace. “It’s been a tradition for us every year.”

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