The memory of Scott Carlson lives on and his inspiration has raised more than $500,000 in the last 14 years in the fight against ALS.
Last Thursday, Mayor Scott Avedisian made a point to congratulate the organizers and participants of the Scott Carlson Memorial Road Race 5K run/walk on their milestone. Funds benefit the ALS Association-Rhode Island Chapter.
“I am proud to recognize the extraordinary efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers, athletes, and spectators who gather every year to honor Scott’s memory and raise money for such a worthwhile cause,” Avedisian said. “It’s incredible that in a relatively short time they have raised such a significant amount of money on behalf of all those who are affected by this disease.”
Just over 600 runners/walkers gathered under a bright, sunny sky at Goddard Park on Saturday, April 19, joined by hundreds of spectators and a volunteer group of at least 60 strong. Volunteers come from all walks of life, according to Judy Pratt, race director, with the largest contingent from the East Greenwich Rotary Club, as well as many from the New England Institute of Technology’s Rotaractor Club, Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, and Boy Scout Troop 1/East Greenwich.
A core group of committee members oversaw the event and ensured things ran smoothly, Pratt said. They include Jon Pratt, Dr. Robert Miller, Seth Wilson, George Cooper, Jane Boynton, Sue Dorne, John Soule, Jeff Carter, Bob Rae, and Mike Gemma. Dozens of local businesses and individuals generously joined the effort as presenting, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze sponsors, race patrons and donors. WPRI-12 and ABC6 were media sponsors, and Ken Bell emceed the event.
Scott Carlson, who died in December 2003 at the age of 39, began the event as a positive way to raise awareness and funds for the disease. A tri-athlete, Carlson designed the event and course as a way to involve his community of athletes in raising awareness of ALS. The East Greenwich Rotary Club was involved from the beginning after his mother-in-law, Joyce Phipps, brought his idea to the club and asked for support, Pratt said.
Carlson’s brothers, Glenn and Eric, were in attendance again this year, and his father, Alan, continued the tradition of starting the race.
“Scott knew the cure would not come in time to save him,” Pratt said. “He was so hopeful that by raising awareness and funds we would be able to support other Rhode Island families touched by ALS and help them to keep their loved ones home throughout the duration of the disease. The ALS Association Rhode Island Chapter is an amazing group that provides much-needed resources – everything from a chapter-sponsored Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic for patients, to respite care and transportation. Hopefully soon we will have a cure, but until then we need to do whatever we can locally to support and assist ALS families.”
And that support is particularly critical in Rhode Island, where there is a record-high number of ALS patients right now needing assistance; the average is about 50, but there are presently 62 patients and families needing our help, according to Pratt.
“These patients and families are amazing,” she said. “What they have to endure and deal with is excruciating, but we have met the most extraordinary and courageous people along our ALS journey. My family witnessed firsthand the incredible amount of support and dedication needed to treat and care for an ALS patient. Scott’s wife and family were so devoted, and he knew how lucky he was to be able to stay in his home, and very much appreciated all the support he received from the local ALS Association Chapter.”
“Judy Pratt has inspired so many others to get involved and to make a difference with her boundless energy, extraordinary leadership and uncanny ability to bring out the best in everyone,” said Nancy Feroldi, executive director of the ALS Association-Rhode Island Chapter. “Judy’s tireless efforts and superb devotion to the ALS cause has led her to not only actively serve on the local ALS Association-RI Chapter Board of Directors for many years, but also to run and recently be elected to the National ALS Association Board of Trustees. We are very proud and deeply grateful to Judy for her many accomplishments on behalf of the ALS Association.”
The ALS Association-Rhode Island Chapter will be holding its annual “Evening of Hope” event on June 13, in the Garden Pavilion at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. For more information about the Rhode Island Chapter, our “Evening of Hope” event or to volunteer or donate, call the Rhode Island Chapter office at 732-1609 or visit us online at: www.alsari.org.