Local school raises awareness for ALS

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

Next week, students and faculty at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Picayune will walk to raise awareness of the disease called ALS.
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the ALS Association website states.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, the website states. The degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS patients eventually leads to the neuron’s death, because it can hinder the brain’s ability to initiate and control muscle movement.
On Friday, March 13 at 1:15 p.m., participants will walk the school’s yard to honor those affected by this disease.
“Three years ago, one of our parents was diagnosed with ALS,” St. Charles sixth and seventh grade science and social studies teacher Leigh Chapman said. “We were unable to participate in the ALS walk in Gulfport, so we decided to have one here. As a result, we found out that more people connected to our school family and in the area had been diagnosed with ALS.”
The walk will last 90 minutes, Chapman said, because every 90 minutes someone dies from or is diagnosed with ALS.
It takes five trips around the school’s playground to make a mile and the older school children will walk first, Chapman said. The younger children will walk second and the pre-k children will walk the remaining 30 minutes.
“Everyone is invited to attend,” Chapman said. “We are asking for any donations.”
Chapman said that each child is asked to donate $3 to participate in the walk. They will be allowed to wear tennis shoes that day, receive an ALS awareness bracelet and have their name put on a paper foot to be displayed on a wall. Students will also receive a baseball with the words “Strike out ALS” written on it.
Anyone donating $25 or more will receive a thank you poster that will hang on the school’s fence, Chapman said.
The money collected will be given to the Gulfport ALS chapter during their walk in December and from there will be delivered to the Mississippi and Louisiana ALS chapter, Chapman said. For the past two years, the school has raised more than $7,000 for the cause.
Anyone wishing to donate money can visit the school’s website at http://www.stcbcatholicschool.org/, click on donate and write ALS in the memo box, Chapman said.
Additionally, donors can visit the Walk to Defeat ALS website at http://web.alsa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=WLK_landing#.VPeAOGR4p83, and search for Team St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School.
“We need to get awareness for this disease out there,” Chapman said. “We are a small and family-oriented school. We are helping our family as well as the families in our community.”
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School is located at 1006 Goodyear Blvd. Contact the staff by phone at 601-799-0860.

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