AMBOY/WALNUT— Although it’s on their hearts and minds year-round, this is the month one local family, and their friends and supporters, strap on their war gear to fight ALS.
Their war gear? Their walking shoes.
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous ballplayer who died of the degenerative muscle disease that eventually robs its victims of the ability to walk, swallow, speak and breathe.
The Payne family, of the Amboy and Walnut areas, have lost 18 loved ones to ALS, and two more now are dealing with it.
They will be taking part in the 12th annual Les Turner ALS Walk4Life, Sept. 22 at Soldier Field in Chicago, which raises money for research and patient care.
They invite any and all to take part, too, or to donate to the effort.
Check-in starts at 9:30 and the walk at 11 a.m. There will be an opening ceremony, refreshments, music, merchandise, raffles, blood drive, performances by cheerleaders and tumblers, art displays, and a children’s fun fair with a stilt walker, balloon artists, face painters, and a bounce house.
Handicap parking spots also are available for ALS patients in the lower level of the Waldron parking garage, south of the field on 18th Street. Email Megan Gaffney at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve one.
This is one of the world’s largest ALS gatherings, with thousands of people walking in support or in memory of loved ones. The walk raised $849,516 last year, and $8 million in its 11-year history.
To help, the Payne family requests contributions to ALS Therapy Development Institute and the Muscular Distrophy Association’s ALS Division. People may donate at donatcommunity.als.net/paynefamilyfund.
Go to www.alswalk4life.org or find “Les Turner ALS FOUNDATION” on Facebook for more information, or to register. People may also contact Connie Becker at email@example.com or 773-550-4059 for ways to support the Payne family.