The human instinct to gather is ingrained, it is part of us and who we are. We gather as families, as communities, as friends. We gather in happiness and in sadness. We gather to mark milestones and for new beginnings. And sometimes we gather to make a difference.
In our area and in the region we serve, people gather each year in support of the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter for what we call “Community Partner Events,” a chance for ordinary people to make an extraordinary impact in the lives of people with ALS in our community. Last year, more than 30 community partner events were held in support of the cause.
The type of community partner events held in support of our chapter is as varied as the people who host them. Some events are one-offs while others occur year-after-year. Examples of community partner events might include golf outings, bike rides, auctions, trivia nights, raffles, school fundraisers, walks, runs, and more.
While these events are all unique, the commonality of community partner events is that they are fun and creative, which allow the St. Louis Regional Chapter to spread awareness to communities that may not be aware of ALS and the impact the disease has in their communities. Interesting and unique community partner events hosted in the last year include the annual Jim Schoemehl 5k, Southern Illinois Golf Tournament for ALS, Pullin’ for ALS, and the Southern Illinois Minors ALS Awareness Night.
The Jim Schoemehl 5k was started in 2001 by Webster Groves High School when Jim Schoemehl, the husband of a Webster Groves High teacher, was diagnosed with ALS. Over the past 19 years the race has grown dramatically, raising funds and awareness for ALS within the community. Each year this run benefits a local family fighting ALS and the St. Louis Regional Chapter. In 2019, the event donated $5,000 to our chapter.
The Southern Illinois Golf Tournament has taken place annually in Mounds, Illinois, and will take place “Every August ‘till a Cure.” Almost $5,000 was raised during the 2019 tournament to help provide caregiver relief in Southern Illinois.
Pullin’ for ALS is always a fun-filled weekend at the Edgar County Fair Grounds in Paris, Illinois. This unique event features a car show with dirt drags and truck and tractor pulls. All proceeds from this event are donated to the St. Louis Regional chapter with 50 percent to fund research and 50 percent to patient and family services.
For the past few years, our chapter has partnered with the Southern Illinois Minors in Marion, Illinois, for an “ALS Awareness Night” at the ballpark. This even helps our chapter spread awareness in Southern Illinois. Two families living with ALS throw out the first pitch and facts about ALS are read throughout the game. This event brought in over $1,000 in 2019.
These events are just a few examples of the sort that take place all over the region that are a vital part of spreading our mission in areas that may not regularly hear about our services. We have a variety of community partner events coming up in the spring and summer. Take a look and see if there is an event you’d like to participate in near you.
The amount these events raise can be as small as $10 or as large as $10,000, but every dollar raised helps get us one step closer to finding treatments and a cure while allowing our community to empower people living with ALS to live their lives to the fullest. That alone seems like a good reason to gather.
Do you have an idea for a community event? Something fun that we’ve not heard of before? We’d love to hear what you come up with. Contact Elizabeth Roe at 314-432-7257 ext 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.