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6,000 Pinwheel Display Symbolizes Lives Lost to ALS at Ride for Life Event
The 15th annual Ride and events run May 29 to June 9

Thousands of pinwheels signify the annual lives lost to ALS, yet a hope that a cure is “blowing in the wind.”
STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 23, 2012 – A display of 6,000 pinwheels – symbolizing lives lost annually to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig’s disease – located on the Stony Brook University Campus will be a powerful reminder and backdrop at Stony Brook’s “Ride for Life"Celebration and Remembrance Ceremony.  The event is a cornerstone of the 15th annual ALS Ride for Life and takes place on June 2, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., on the Campus’ South P Lot.
 
Started in 1998 by Christopher Pendergast, who has battled ALS for 19 years and is recognized nationally for his patient advocacy, the Ride for Life raises awareness and funds for ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease. The Ride has raised more than $3 million for ALS research since its inception. The Ride helps support Stony Brook Medicine’s Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, the only ALS Association certified center on Long Island. Through Ride for Life proceeds, more than $400,000 has been provided to patient care services at the Center. 
 
The 12-day power wheelchair trek across Long Island by ALS patients runs from May 29 to June 9, when the riders that day cross the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. During each daily trek, numerous students from Long Island schools, as well as area business leaders and other supporters, will escort Pendergast and other ALS patient riders. All those attending events are invited to “Walk on the Ride” to support the ALS awareness and the search for a cure.
 
The Stony Brook University event features a 10-mile walk followed by the Remembrance Ceremony. The ceremony includes a tribute to patients lost to ALS. Ninety names will be recited to mark the number of minutes between deaths from ALS in the United States. 
 
Pendergast, Founder and President of the Ride for Life, says the pinwheels remind patients and supporters that a cure for ALS is “blowing in the wind.” Committed to helping find a cure for ALS, Pendergast is donating $500,000 through proceeds from the Ride for Life organization to support the development of an ALS Clinical Trials Program at the Stony Brook ALS Center of Excellence named in his honor in 2010. The gift will be matched by the Simons Foundation Challenge Grantproviding a total impact of $1 million to help fund research at the Center.
 
For more information about the Ride for Life and June 2 event at Stony Brook University, please call 631-444-1292, or e-mail RFLOffice21@aol.com.

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© Stony Brook University 2012