Friday, July 20th, 2018

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ALS Northeast Ohio Chapter “Strike Out! ALS Gala”


The ice water buckets have long been emptied, but support for people affected by Lou Gehrig’s disease has never let up for the ALS Northeast Ohio Chapter. The 2017 Strike Out! ALS gala added a new push for awareness and funds for this utterly devastating disease.

Since 1998, the Strike Out! ALS benefit has helped northern Ohioans dealing with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal progressive disease affecting the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As motor neurons die off, muscle movement is lost, leading to paralysis, even though the person’s cognizance remains intact. It’s the disease that claimed the legendary baseball player Lou Gehrig.

But this year, the gala shared celebratory news of a new treatment: the FDA approval of the Japanese-manufactured drug Radicava.

“Radicava is the first new drug in over 20 years for ALS,” said Dr. Erik P. Pioro, a Cleveland Clinic neurologist and director of its Section of ALS and Related Disorders, who noted the drug’s antioxidant effect for slowing the disease. “We’re entering a new era in progress. It’s a stepping stone to the cure.”

The gala also celebrated significant efforts on behalf of those affected by ALS, honoring the Larry and Paul Dolan families, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and the family of the late Neal Chadwick MD. Jim Obergefell, whose late husband died of ALS, served as master of ceremonies.

The 400 patrons of the event raised $215,000 to continue the chapter’s education programs, hospice and caregiver support and medical research to ultimately beat ALS. “The key,” said Dr. Pioro, “is to keep up the enthusiasm that came from the ice bucket campaign.” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT

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