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Event raises funds, awareness for ALS

KEESEVIILE-An event was recently held to bring awareness and support to a disease that has become increasingly present in the North Country.

The Adirondack Association for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Awareness, along with the Mountain Riders Motorcycle Club, held its annual bike rally and poker run on June 4.

"We had approximately 100 bikes, which was big," Kelly Murphy, event volunteer with the organization. "It was a great day and a great event."

Murphy said that the event has grown from a fundraiser for one person to a collective effort to help the needs of dozens of locals who suffer from the degenerative disease, also known as Lou Gerhig's Disease.

"This event was started when John Nixon was diagnosed," Murphy said. "A short time later, Don Duffy, who had worked to help put on the event, was diagnosed. Every year, we keep learning about more and more people with the disease."

Murphy said that within the last six months, they have been made aware of six more local residents who have been diagnosed with ALS.

"I never thought that there would be so much of a need," Murphy said. "We do not have a center here in this area, so we are now not only promoting awareness of ALS, but we are also working to give immediate assistance to those who need it and we are so happy when we can assist in any way."

The organization tries to help ALS patients with medical and household expenses wherever they can.

"One person who was diagnosed, his sister saw one of our flyers," Murphy said. "She contacted us and we were able to help out."

Murphy said that while the fundraising event is held on an annual basis, the commitment to raise awareness of the disease is a year-round program.

"We want to keep promoting awareness," Murphy said. "It is now at the point that all of the money that we make at the event is spoken for as soon as the event is done."

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