Three Barrington teams joined forces to raise over $215,000 in Sunday’s 14th Annual Les Turner ALS Walk For Life. To reach that record breaking number, the teams collectively raised over $100,000, triggering a $100,000 matching donation from the Foglia Family Foundation.
Over 200 Barrington area residents joined more than 7,000 participants in Sunday’s Walk for Life at Soldier Field. The three Barrington teams walked in honor of three neighbors affected by ALS: Kevin O’Brien of South Barrington, Jeff Kordich of Hoffman Estates and Paul Launer of North Barrington who lost his life to ALS this summer.
Team Kourage (Kevin O’Brien)
“When my husband was diagnosed with ALS we had no idea how this disease would completely shake up our world and how important our friends, family and the Les Turner ALS Foundation would be to us,” says Kevin’s wife, Terry O’Brien.
“Our team motto is ‘courage will follow when faith takes the lead’ and our team finds that the ALS Walk for Life provides the support that is needed to face each day.”
Jeff’s Juggernauts (Jeff Kordich)
In the summer of 2011, Jeff Kordich, his wife and son were visiting college campuses when Jeff became concerned about the weakness in his lower right leg. After many tests, he was diagnosed with ALS approximately one year after the symptoms began. Today, Jeff experiences weakness in both legs and one arm. Although his health has forced him to take long-term disability from his job at Microsoft, he remains positive and has gained a renewed appreciation for each day and each opportunity to enjoy his friends, family and hobbies.
“My children have been educated in the Barrington school district, and throughout the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of the Barrington residents who support the ALS community,” Jeff says. “It’s been exciting to combine our resources and aim for the $100,000 match.”
Iron Horse Brigade (Paul Launer)
Diagnosed with ALS in June of 2011, Paul Launer “squeezed every drop out of life” before his passing in July of this year. As Paul’s disease progressed, he lost the use of his hands and legs and was unable to eat and speak. Throughout the journey with ALS, Paul stayed engaged in his family and friends and cherished each day, particularly those when his beloved Chicago Blackhawks won.
“Paul was a truly special person who taught me about how to appreciate life, how to accept and adjust to challenges and not to sweat the small stuff,” says Iron Horse Brigade captain, Sue Randall.
In 2013 and 2014, Paul Launer’s team set fundraising records and they worked hard to be on the record books again this year. “Last year our team raised approximately $150,000, which included a $50,000 donation from the Foglias,” says Sue. “This year, the family generously accepted our double or nothing challenge. Although it’s emotionally difficult to keep up the fight now that Paul has passed away, it’s an honor for me to lead our team again in 2015.”
The Walk for Life is Chicago’s largest gathering for the ALS community, raising over $10 million for research, patient services and educational activities in its 14-year history. The event features a 2-mile walk along Chicago’s lakefront as well as live entertainment, refreshments and children’s activities. Founded in 1977, the Les Turner ALS Foundation is Chicago’s leader in research, patient care and education about ALS, serving nearly 90 percent of people with ALS in the area.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a terminal neuromuscular disease that attacks a person’s muscles, gradually robbing them of their ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe, yet usually keeping their mind intact. Every 90 minutes, someone in the US is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes, someone with ALS dies. There is currently no prevention or cure for ALS.