When the New York Yankees’ Lou Gehrig was first diagnosed with a progressive neurodegenerative disease in 1939, his prognosis was to live another two to five years. Today, someone diagnosed with ALS receives the same prognosis.
Moving forward in the search for a cure or additional treatment options depends heavily on financial funding, which is why Atlantic Logistics – a Jacksonville-based third-party logistics provider – has pledged $3437 through its Service 365 program. The program, which benefits a different Jacksonville nonprofit each month, makes a donation based on the number of trucking loads completed among its 3PL partners.
“ALS is a disease that is woefully underfunded,” said Ray Carson, President and CEO of the ALS Association Florida Chapter. “When you think about the progress we’ve made with cancer, AIDS and even Covid-19, you would think we would be further along in treating it, but part of the problem is that we still don’t know what causes it. That’s a big reason why there has not been more progress. So, donations really are what makes the difference. It allows us to provide care to those dealing with ALS, but it also enables us to invest in critical research.”
For some employees at Atlantic Logistics, getting involved in ALS fundraising was a deeply personal matter. For Jan Brittingham, the HR and Office Manager at Atlantic Logistics, providing support through Jacksonville’s annual ALS walk was a way to honor both her friend and the husband her friend lost to ALS.
“About five years ago, I became personally involved in the Walk due to a close friend losing her husband to this terrible disease,” Brittingham said. “ALS has no known cure. It is a progressive disease of the nervous system that causes the motor neurons to gradually deteriorate and die. It takes away the freedom to walk, talk and breathe. I feel fortunate to be able to do all three and was compelled to get Atlantic Logistics involved in the Walk this year so we can support this worthy cause.”
Employees at Atlantic Logistics raised $1,042 to go toward holding clinical trials in the hopes of finding a cure. For Brittingham, the walk inspires hope.
“I felt invigorated knowing I had helped raise money for an incredibly worthy cause. My 93-year-old father walked with me and together we led the pack!” she said, laughing. “I’m quite proud of our team for their continuous effort to serve the community.”
The Jacksonville chapter of the ALS Association will continue its 2022 fundraising efforts with additional events that include the 2nd Annual Ring of Honor ALS Golf Classic in St. Augustine, a virtual event – the St. Augustine 'Walk Your Way' to Defeat ALS – and the 2022 CEO Soak at TIAA Bank Field. It’s an ongoing cycle of fundraising and advocacy with the goal of making ALS a livable disease by 2030.
“The most difficult part of working in this arena is that ALS is a fatal disease. We don’t have survivors,” Carson said. “I can’t tell you how many people I have met and lost. But the inspiring part is continuing the fight, fighting in memory of those people. We do it on behalf of so many that have lost their battle.”