Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calling All Heroes for ALS

The inaugural Ben E. Keith Calling All Heroes event took place on Friday, July 8 at eM - The Venue in the Design District.  Honorary Chairs Suzanne Bock Grishman and Michael Grishman and Chairs Katie Townend Hollingsworth and Clayton Hollingsworth hosted a wonderful evening that included entertanment, dancing, silent and live auction, food and fun.

 Clayton Hollingsworth, Katie Townend Hollingsworth, ALS/North Texas Executive Director
Alex Reid, Suzanne Bock Grishman and Michael Grishman

This is a signature fundraiser for the ALS Association, a way to honor those living with ALS, those who have lost their battle to this insidious disease and those fighting to find a cure.  Scott Murray was delightful as the evening's auctioneer, even throwing in a prize of his own (tickets and VIP parking to a Nascar event) at the last minute to help increase the revenue to the charity. 

Chelsea Miller, Cynthia Smoot, Courtney Edwards, Jason Treu, Allison Edwards, Katie Townend Hollingsworth

The event honored former Dallas Cowboy, Drew Pearson, with a Humanitarian Award.  The evening's Hero Awards went to Trey Shanks and Pete Lohstreter.  Pete is a physics teacher at Hockaday and suffers from ALS.  He was not present to receive his award but for good reason! His students had raised money to send Pete and his wife to see the last Shuttle launch in Florida. Coincidentally, it was their 45th wedding anniversary. 

Allstate Insurance Company was also recognized with a Hero Award for its efforts to raise awareness as well as for providing support to Diane Hammonds, a 30-year tenured employee with ALS. Her husband Larry accepted the award on behalf of Allstate. The next morning we were all notified that Diane lost her four year battle with ALS. My sincerest condolences go out to Larry and his family as well as all the employees of Allstate.

About ALS:
Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. While there is not a cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS, the leading work of The ALS Association supports research efforts that have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of this disease and that ultimately support the development of new drug treatments.

Photo Credit: Peter Wynne