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Event benefits ALS research
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going
* What: ALS Run for Life-A Run to End Lou Gehrig’s Disease
* When: Registration at 7 a.m., 5K at 8 a.m. and one-mile fun run at 9 a.m. Saturday
* Where: The Avenue Forsyth on Peachtree Parkway
* Online: to register or download an entry form.

The Fifth Annual ALS Run for Life 5K-A Run to End Lou Gehrig’s Disease will be held Saturday at The Avenue Forsyth on Peachtree Parkway.

According to information from race organizers, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, strikes some 15 people in the United States each day.

After diagnosis, the average life expectancy in two to five years as the disease takes away the ability to move, speak, swallow and ultimately breathe, although the mind remains sharp. There is no cure.

According to a release, the run was founded to honor Jon Blais, the only person with ALS to finish an Ironman triathlon.

“This disease gets overlooked too often in funding and awareness, and it’s important for the community to learn what ALS is and how to help spread awareness and find a cure,” said organizer Karen Duffy.

Duffy said this will be the second year for the race at The Avenue Forsyth. In 2007 and '08, she said, it was held at South Forsyth High School.

Saturday’s run will begin with registration at 7 a.m. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. and a one-mile fun run will follow at 9 a.m.

Over the past four years, the run has raised more than $50,000 for ALS research at the Emory ALS Center.

Duffy is anticipating about 1,000 runners on Saturday.

“The entry fee is affordable and it’s truly a race for everyone," she said. "For runners, it’s a great race that has brought the most competitive athletes for the area, and casual runners and walkers enjoy it too.”

Participants will receive a T-shirt, and there will be refreshments and music and an awards ceremony will follow the race.

Wheelchairs, strollers and pets are welcome.

“It’s wheelchair-friendly, which is important for the ALS patients who are coming,” Duffy said. “ALS is awful and the disease brings such frustration and sadness to patients and their families, but we take the Emory ALS Center motto to heart and make it a morning to ‘Celebrate Life ... Imagine a Cure.’”