The 2016 Chicago Walk to Defeat ALS was hosted a few weeks ago at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. This was my 9th Walk to Defeat ALS and it was absolutely wonderful! I almost had to miss it due to poor weather in Iowa. We were expecting severe thunderstorms and tornadoes and I did not know if it would be safe to drive home. Thankfully I was able to make it home for the event (no tornadoes involved)!
It was quite chilly the day of the ALS Walk, but I had my ALSA Chicago Chapter sweatshirt to warm me up. The Chapter staff changed some things with the event this year, including holding it on the parking lots instead of a grassy field.
Regardless of the frigid temperatures, a plethora of people from across the Chicagoland area joined us at the event. My job was to host the VIP tent. I have taken this role at past walks and I enjoy it because I really get to know the VIP team. The VIP team is the team that raised the most money for the Walk to Defeat ALS. This year’s top team was Team Martel. Congrats to them!
Cure 90/90 was another ALS event that was held recently. This event was held at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago on May 23rd and 24th. I was not able to stay for the entire event because I had to get to the lab, but I was still able to enjoy the experience!
This awareness event was inspired by Kevin Thompson, a highly decorated martial artist living with ALS. During the event, people walking through Daley Plaza could punch or kick wooden boards to ‘breakthrough’ ALS. It was extremely hot in the city, but we had a such a great turnout! Thanks to everyone who participated in the event.
I really enjoyed kicking off my summer break at these Chicagoland ALS events. I am looking forward to continuing with my ALS research. I am working in Dr. Fei Song’s lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago this summer. I am studying the spinal cords in ALS animal models!