Community members walk for ALS

Community members walk through Chesterfield Village to raise money to find a cure for ALS. On Saturday, September 28 2019, community members walked through Chesterfield Village to raise money for a cure to ALS.

The Missouri State University Pre-Medical Society and Cell and Molecular Biology Society teamed up with the ALS Association Mid-America chapter for a fundraising walk on Saturday, Sept. 28.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a degenerative affliction that halts the brain’s ability to communicate with the body through the spinal column. This, in turn, weakens the muscles and eventually leads to death.

Pre-Medical Society said they are dedicated to helping MSU students interested in all types of medical fields, providing them many opportunities to meet professionals in a variety of fields.

According to the Pre-Medical Society Community Chair Head Noah Kronk, the MSU teams raised around $910 for the cause. Kronk, a senior cell and molecular biology major, also confirmed they have 15 members on their team for fundraising, as well as the Pre-Medical Society having 86 active members.

Its partner, the Cell and Molecular Biology Society, has 150 members active, according to President Mikala Sisco, a senior cell and molecular biology major. Sisco said the walk showed off how wide the medical field is, and how it can affect people positively.

“We are trying to create service opportunities for pre-medical students,” Sisco said. “It allows them to tap into more medical type service events, so this is really a community coming together to raise money to find a cure and research ALS. It really gives you a different perspective of the medical field and how it affects people.”

At the walk, a persistent light rain sped up team photos, but after the presentation of the colors at 10 a.m. the rain slowly died out, leaving an overcast and cool sky to walk under.

Not long after the presentation, Executive Director of the Midwest chapter of the ALS Association Colleen Watcher took the stage to report that a total of $124, 589 has been raised for research.

Watcher said it was amazing how many had turned out to help raise money, and that it gives a sense of community, as the number of people at the walk showed those with ALS as well as their families are not without support.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” Watcher said. “The Springfield Community has come out in full force to help walk today to defeat ALS, and we’re so excited. We’ve got a little bit of rain, but it’s gonna be a great day.”

After Watcher, the emcee for the event arrived  —  former sports broadcaster Ned Reynolds. 

Reynolds mounted the stage and helped introduce the different meanings of the walkers’ lanyards, gold signifying somebody with ALS, blue as someone who had lost a loved one to ALS and red being those who pledged money towards a cure. 

Reynolds said finding a cure was important to him, as he had lost his friend Jim Ewing to the disease.

The walk then began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and proceeded down West Chesterfield Street. The walk included students from multiple Springfield schools. It also included former MSU students like Megan Brown, who graduated as an elementary education major in 2014.

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