FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 30, 2015
For additional information,
Contact: Amanda Shell Jennings
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. and state Sen. Becky Massey will be joined by elected officials and community members to participate in an Ice Bucket Challenge, bike ride and walk to raise awareness for ALS at Lakeshore Park on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m.
“Congressman Duncan and I are supporting this event in honor of our brother-in-law, Pat Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS this past year,” Massey said. “I have been overwhelmed with the support that I have received from my fellow elected officials and friends in supporting this cause. All are welcome to join us Sunday as we raise awareness for finding a cure for ALS.”
Duncan and Massey will kick off the event with buckets of ice water to pour on their heads to raise awareness about research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Several state and local elected officials have signed on to participate in the challenge or cheer on participants, including state Sen. Richard Briggs; state Rep. Eddie Smith; state Rep. Roger Kane; state Rep. Joe Armstrong; Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; Knox County Commissioner Randy Smith; Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby; Knox County Commissioner Ed Brantley; City Councilman Finbarr Saunders; Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin; Municipal Court Judge John Rosson; Knox County General Sessions Court Judge Tony Stansberry; Patti Bounds of the Knox County school board; Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch; Knoxville Fire Chief Stan Sharp; and Jane Jolley, field manager for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
The awareness walk around Lakeshore Park Greenway will begin immediately after the conclusion of the challenge, and bike riders will be escorted by police to the entrance of Third Creek Greenway.
The event is free to attend, and donations will be accepted to benefit the Tennessee Chapter of the ALS Association.
Trisha Overton, the daughter of Pat Gleason, is organizing the event in her father’s honor and is grateful for the support of her aunt and uncle in supporting the fight for a cure for ALS.
“Raising awareness for ALS is very personal to me as my father was diagnosed with the disease in April,” Overton said. “There is no cure for the disease, no blood tests to determine whether you have the disease and very limited treatments. I wanted to do something to bring awareness to this fact and to honor my dad.”
Gleason was passionate about biking and recently was unable to continue the activity because of his illness. In his honor, Overton hopes to expand the bike ride to an annual event to raise awareness and funds for ALS.
Approximately 30,000 Americans are living with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a degenerative neurological disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The disease currently has no cure and only one FDA-approved drug available to modestly slow the disease’s progression.
Treatment for ALS can cost more than $200,000 per year over and above insurance coverage. The ALS Association provides services and assistance to families and individuals living with ALS and donates money to support research for new drugs to combat the disease.
For more information on the search for a cure, visit http://webtn.alsa.org.