Josh Rogers: Why I Walk to Defeat ALS

By Josh Rogers, Senior Vice President & Partner, FleishmanHillard

A few weekends ago, I was jogging past Steinberg Rink in Forest Park and I remembered the first Walk to Defeat ALS® that I attended. The Walk started and finished at Steinberg. That was 2005 or 2006, I think.  I participated in two Walks at Steinberg. Then the event shifted to the Forest Park Visitor’s Center. And this year, we’re moving again to the upper Muny parking lot.

Each location to date has served us very well as the event has grown. And I know our new spot will be great too. Forest Park is such a wonderful institution … it’s impossible to go wrong with an event in the park.

As I ran by Steinberg, I thought about how much has changed since my first Walk. Sadly, my friend Craig Thomas, the reason I walked in the first place, lost his battle with ALS and is no longer with us. As is the case with countless others, unfortunately.

I walk for my friend, Craig Thomas, who lost his battle with ALS in 2012 at age 34.

There’s been a lot of good change too, though. We’ve had the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised millions for the ALS Association. Those funds have resulted in advances in advocacy, patient care and research, including the introduction of Radicava as a treatment for ALS patients. And there are three other drugs in advanced stages of development as a direct result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, holding promise for those with the disease and those who will be diagnosed in the future.

But just as there’s been change, a lot has remained the same. ALS is still fatal. Every 90 minutes, someone loses their ALS fight, and someone new is diagnosed with the disease. For these reasons, it is important that we continue to walk … to fundraise, to advocate and to keep up the fight.

That’s why I’ll be back this year … and every year hereafter until we find a cure. Whether at the Muny or somewhere new. As long as I’m able, I will walk. I hope you will too.

The St. Louis Walk to Defeat ALS® will be held on Saturday, June 23rd, at Forest Park.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the Walk starts at 10:00 a.m.  Sign up or donate today and help support people with ALS and their families while we search for a cure.

Josh Rogers currently serves as the Vice Chairman to the Board of Directors for The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, and will take the helm as Chairman of the Board February 1, 2019.  Josh has been a dedicated volunteer for six years, in both an advisory capacity providing strategic support and planning for our organization as well as serving on numerous local and national ALS board and event committees.


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