Jim 'Catfish' Hunter ALS Foundation donates $100k toward research & equipment
HERTFORD, NC -- The Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation has committed $100,000 to The Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter of The ALS Association to help support programs and fund cutting-edge research aimed at finding a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease. This devastating disease currently affects as many as 30,000 people in this country and 350,000 people around the world.
A $50,000 portion of the grant will help support two equipment loan programs through The ALS Association in North Carolina to provide items to afflicted families such as power wheelchairs and scooters.
“Families often have no resources to pay for a custom wheelchair and therefore turn to The ALS Association to provide a long term solution,” said Jerry Dawson, President of The ALS Association – Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter. “When the Foundation learned of the shortage, they stepped in to meet the growing demand by donating three new power wheelchairs. Because of this donation, we will be able to continue to provide resources and support to families. We thank Helen Hunter and The Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation for always being there ready to help when we need it.”
The remaining $50,000 will help support an ALS Association-funded research project using diagnostic biomarkers. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, Massachusetts General Hospital, Duke University and Metabolon, Inc. are focused on small molecules found in blood and spinal fluid that could lead to a faster and more reliable diagnostic process and perhaps even make it possible for researchers to measure the effectiveness of different drug treatments in clinical trials. Earlier this year, The Jim "Catfish" Hunter Foundation funded another promising ALS research project through the University of Virginia.
“We’re thankful to be a part of the progress in diagnostic research to help identify better treatment options for ALS patients,” said Tommy Harrell, President of The Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation. “We know that the money is being put to good use; and look forward to the day when we have cured this horrible disease.”
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. Yet, through it all, for the vast majority of people, their minds remain unaffected.
About The Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation (Hertford, N.C.) Leadership was a trait that North Carolina native Jim “Catfish”Hunter used to pilot the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees to five World Series championships. His performance on the mound earned him a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 where his plaque reads, “The bigger the game, the better he pitched.” When Hunter was diagnosed with ALS in 1998, he decided to do what came naturally to him; he decided to lead. Along with family and friends, Hunter formed the Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation in his hometown ofHertford, North Carolina (located in the northeastern part of the state). He used his celebrity status to increase awareness and funding for ALS before he succumbed to complications of the disease in 1999 at the age of 53. His wife Helen, along with their children, their friends and their community, continued the fight that he started. In 2001, the Foundation donated more than $120,000 to The ALS Association- Carolinas
Chapter (Raleigh, N.C.) for research and patient services. The Carolinas Chapter was renamed for “Catfish” Hunter in 2002. Today, Helen Hunter and Foundation President, Tommy Harrell, faithfully serve on the Chapter board.
media contact: Contact: Jerry Dawson, jerry@CatfishChapter.org