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Medical Center & Health Care

 

"Ride for Life" Earmarks $160,000 for Stony Brook ALS Research and Clinical Care in 2014

STONY BROOK, N.Y., November 25, 2013 – The Ride for Life Organization, which raises funds and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has earmarked $160,000 for Stony Brook University in 2014 to support ALS research and clinical care. A portion of these funds ($100,000) will be the latest installment from the Ride for Life to support the development of ALS clinical trials at the Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute. The pledge is in conjunction with the match from the Simons Foundation Challenge Grant.

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Christopher Pendergast, center, received a genuine Louisville Slugger baseball bat, symbolic of his courage, endurance and vision to find a cure for ALS, at the 2013 Stony Brook Ride for Life event. Also pictured is Reuven Pasternak, MD, CEO and VP of Health Systems, Stony Brook University Hospital, left; and Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior VP for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

The $60,000 slated for clinical care services at Stony Brook’s Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, an ALS Association Certified Center providing comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for patients, will come directly from the ALS Association but is based on funds available from the Ride for Life.

“Without the cooperation and support of the Stony Brook University community, the Ride for Life would not have achieved our unbelievable level of success,” said Christopher Pendergast, a 21-year ALS patient and advocate, and Founder and President of the Ride for Life. “The ALS community is grateful for what Stony Brook University has helped us achieve.”

Since its inception in 1998, the Ride for Life has provided more than $1.7 million in funds for ALS research and $1.1 million to support ALS clinical care and patient services nationwide. During this period, more than $700,000 has been donated to Stony Brook University for the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence and Stony Brook neuroscience research in search of a cure for this fatal neurodegenerative disease. The Ride for Life has slated $500,000 for Stony Brook research and clinical trials spread over a five-year period, ending in 2017, which is matched by the Simons Foundation, providing a total impact of $1 million for the effort.

Pendergast emphasized that an ongoing focus of the organization is to support research that can lead to clinical trials of new treatments against ALS that improve upon current treatments, slow down the disease process or cure ALS.

“Neuroscience is getting ever closer to the goal of finding new approaches to treating ALS and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases,” said Dennis Choi, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology and Director of the Neurosciences Institute. “With Stony Brook’s expertise in neuroscience research, we hope to contribute importantly to this global effort.”

In 2014, the Ride for Life will provide additional funds to other organizations in the region, expanding services such as home nursing care and handicapped loaner vans designed to make mobility for patients and their families more manageable. Funds for the organization’s “Care for Life” program, which provides a one-time grant to support home respite care, will be increased per individual patient recipient.

The Ride for Life will also continue its support of Long Island high school seniors who have a family member affected by ALS with its college scholarship program. Some 40 high school students have received scholarships over the past six years. Next year $6,000 in scholarships will be announced sometime in February.

Most of the funds generated by the Ride for Life organization can be attributed to the annual Ride for Life event that occurs during ALS Awareness Month each May. The 2014 event begins on May 5. Prior to that, the Ride for Life will hold its Bike Trek, a multi-length bicycle fundraiser that courses through the Stony Brook University Campus on April 27.