by Corey O’Neill
On Sunday April 23, the third Annual ALS Walk was held at Central Connecticut State University. Co-hosted by Phi Delta Theta CT Alpha Chapter and Student Government Association , the event yet again had another great turnout.
“The turnout was amazing,” said Phi Delta Theta brother Fares Hashem. “I’m proud of everyone for coming out. We worked hard together to make this event successful.”
This year’s award was named the “John J. Rice, JR. Award,” after a CCSU Alumni and New Britain resident who passed away due to ALS in 2014.
Rice’s widow, Diane Dalenta-Rice presented the award to Doug Somers, whose business CT Building and Restoration, gave a $250 donation, the largest of the day.
An opening and closing ceremony for the event took place in the Quad of CCSU. There were many food booths at the ceremony, while the walk participants were able to partake in games and activities.
A $20 minimum donation was asked for to participate in the walk, and those who donated $75 or more were given an ALS Walk t-shirt.
“ALS is such a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide,” said Phi Delta Theta brother Gabriel Ramos. “Raising awareness is the least my brothers and I could do in our effort to address this issue.”
According to Jacob Vincent Goulas, a brother of Phi Delta Theta and SGA Senator, it was very important to the chapter to get an ALS awareness walk to CCSU.
“We as a chapter in the past would go to ALS walks around Connecticut and show support. Then, our chapter noticed that our local community included people who had ALS or had even died from ALS,” said Goulas. “We started the walk over three years ago, and now we carry the torch each year. This walk is growing and has been gaining more attention over the years.”
The first ALS Walk at CCSU took place on April 18, 2015. The walk has been a success each year since. For this year’s walk, Phi Delta Theta set a goal of raising $4,000. This goal was easily reached, with $5,266 being collected in donations.
Phi Delta Theta is already planning on how to make next year’s walk even bigger and better. “We need to spread the word more,” said Ramos. “We get a lot of support from a number of local businesses already, but expanding our reach is the best way to make our walk better.”
ALS is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. 15 people on average are diagnosed with ALS every day, and there is still no cure for the disease.
Made famous by legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, he brought attention to the disease in his iconic 1939 “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” retirement speech. Gehrig was a member of Phi Delta Theta. The chapter honors Gehrig by choosing the ALS Association as their national philanthropy.
All proceeds from this year’s ALS Walk, as well as all future walks, will go to the ALS Association. The proceeds will be benefiting those who suffer from this terrible neurological disease.
For more information on how to help in the fight against ALS, please visit the ALS Association’s official website, http://www.alsa.org.