NEW HAVEN — An ALS Awareness Walk/Run, in support of a Letart man, will be Oct. 17 at the New Haven Baseball Field.
The event is being held in support of Greg Lewis, 56, who was diagnosed with ALS in November 2014, according to Teresa Smith, one of the walk organizers.
Although the walk supports Lewis, the proceeds of the event will go to the Western Pennsylvania ALS Chapter to help fund research. Various other fundraisers have been held recently to offset Lewis’ medical expenses, Smith said. They have included a T-shirt and bracelet sale, as well as a hymn sing at Maranatha Cornerstone Church, where Lewis attends.
The walk will be 10 a.m. to noon, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the ball field. The cost is $20. Pre-registration is offered by calling Smith at 740-508-1625 or Elaine Ogle at 304-812-3409. Tonia Buzzard is also assisting with the event organization, according to Smith.
The walk/run route will begin at the ball field. It will proceed up Midway Drive to Rt. 62. Walkers will turn right onto Rt. 62 and proceed to Layne Street, make another right, and follow it back to the ball field. Smith said members of the New Haven Fire Department will be assisting with directions and traffic control.
There will be door prizes given, and the first 100 walkers/runners arriving at the event will receive goodie bags. There will also be other activities throughout the morning.
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” It is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, according to the ALS Association.
ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Approximately 20,000 Americans have the disease at any one time.
The ALS Association reports the motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movement and muscle control. People can lose the ability to speak, eat, move and eventually breathe.
There are two types of ALS, sporadic and familial. Sporadic is the most common in the U.S., and it can affect anyone, anywhere. Familial is inherited and accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of cases, according to the ALS Association.
Early symptoms of ALS include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue in the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, and muscle cramps and twitching.
Lewis is scheduled to see a specialist in Pittsburgh in early October. A Facebook page has been set up for the event under ALS Awareness Walk/Run.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.