Students and staff at Massapequa High School’s Ames Campus donned blue on April 3 in support of the 6,000 people a year who lose their lives to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, as well as the people who are living with the neurodegenerative disease.
In an effort to raise awareness, speakers from ALS Ride for Life spoke to a group of ninth-graders about the disease and about the annual fundraising event that has raised $7 million during two decades. During the past two years, the course has gone through Massapequa, with students and staff standing outside of several of the district’s schools with large banners to show support.
Ames students Anthony Gazzola, Kevin McLeer and Anthony Papasodero spoke about the history of Ride for Life and its founder, Chris Pendergast, who has lived with ALS for 23 years. A video featured Mr. Pendergast’s daily challenges and footage from past rides. It also explained how ALS came to be known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease for the former New York Yankees baseball player whose career and life were cut short.
Speakers included Barbara Brown, a board member of Ride for Life, and Paul Weissman, who is living with the disease. Mr. Weissman told students that they will face challenges in their lives, and their goals should be to never give up, never lose hope and remain optimistic despite the odds against them. He also spoke of the small but meaningful acts that inspire people with ALS to keep on living and fighting, from simple words of encouragement to the Ice Bucket Challenge craze of 2014.
Tania Willman, the executive assistant to the principal, said that Ames would make a donation to ALS Ride for Life when it passes through Massapequa during its 20th annual journey in May.
Photo Caption: Massapequa High School Ames Campus students wore blue on April 3 to raise awareness for ALS.
Photo courtesy of Massapequa School District