The Angel Fund is proud of its status as a “family,” a family focused on finding a cure for the devastating disease we all know by three letters: ALS.
And as a family, we have a common thread that weaves us together beyond our commitment to fighting ALS. Most of our families have lived through the heartbreak of seeing a loved one live with ALS and lose their battle to this horrific disease. Some have also endured the unimaginable heartbreak of being affected by Familial ALS and having more than one family member fall victim to the disease.
We all know that ALS is a disease that does not discriminate.
For those who have attended an Angel Fund event over the years, you’ve undoubtedly seen a familiar face who welcomed and greeted you at nearly every event. He’s someone who is fiercely committed to helping fund the research to find the cure for ALS, and someone who has worked tirelessly through his adult life to create awareness to push this research forward. That man, the face of The Angel Fund, is our President, Rich Kennedy.
The Kennedy family knows all too well about familial ALS and that 10% of ALS patients are affected by the mutant genes that cause familial ALS. Rich Kennedy’s father, Christopher, was diagnosed with ALS almost 30 years ago, and eight years later, Rich’s brother, the youngest of eight children, was diagnosed and passed away at the young age of 31.
Sadly, another Kennedy, our own Angel Fund President Rich “Ratt” Kennedy has been diagnosed with ALS. Last month, while training for the Boston Marathon, Rich noticed a drop in his gait. In that moment he knew this that his biggest fear was coming true…. that he was now a victim of ALS.
As a caretaker, Rich has provided therapy to many ALS patients both physically, through his role as a Physical Therapist, and emotionally as a friend. He is a voice of hope to all, an advocate for a cure. He knows all sides of the disease. And now, ironically, he will intimately know the life of an ALS patient.
Rich is now one of the many faces of ALS. It makes us sad, and it makes us mad. Although research has made extraordinary steps to finding a treatment and a cure, we’re not there yet. ALS research is critically underfunded.
We need to find the CURE. Let’s continue to step up to fight ALS for Rich and for all the members of our “family.”
The math is simple – ALS Research + funding = Cure.