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Race aids ALS research

POSTED: May 3, 2013 12:25 a.m.

Runners and walkers are invited to help raise money to find a cure for ALS.

The Seventh Annual FIESTA 15K/5K, formerly known as the ALS Run for Life, will be held with registration beginning at 6:45 a.m. Saturday at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

The 15K begins at 7:45 a.m., the 5K at 8:05 a.m. and a one-mile fun run at 9 a.m.

Founded by Brian Duffy in 2007, the event raises money for research at Emory University to hopefully find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a neuromuscular disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord.

ALS is universally fatal, taking away the ability to move, speak, swallow and ultimately breathe. It can strike anyone without warning and the average lifespan after diagnosis is just two to five years.

According to information from the Duffy family, some 30,000 people in the United States and more than 500 in Georgia are living with the disease.

In 2006, when he was 13, Duffy founded the run after he watched the Ironman World Championship on TV. He saw Jon Blais finish the endurance event just six months after being diagnosed with ALS and Duffy was inspired to help find a cure.

On his own, he raised $2,000, but knew more was needed so he and his family began the local run in 2007. The family also created Cure for ALS, a private nonprofit, and has raised more than $110,000 for ALS research to date.

More than 15 teams are expected to take part in Saturday’s fundraiser, with an estimated 2,000 runners and spectators attending.

All participants will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag, and all 15K finishers will get a medal. Awards will be given in the 15K and 5K races.

Dixie Brown brings her “Couch to 5K” fitness class each year.

“The race is always wonderful, well-organized and put together,” she said in a statement. “I have done a lot of local races and this is by far one of my favorites.”

Added Karen Duffy, Brian Duffy’s mother: “May is ALS Awareness Month nationwide and the FIESTA 15K/5K is a great way to kick off the month.”


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