OAKHURST — A local 4th grade student has tackled an important project successfully, bringing awareness to a devastating disease while raising a significant amount of money for research to cure it, and having some fun in the process.
Cody Aleshire, 9, attends Wasuma Elementary School, where he completed a class assignment called the American Heroes Project last year. That’s where his great idea came from.
“I chose Lou Gehrig as my American hero and did a report on him,” Cody explains, referring to the Yankees great first baseman who died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“He inspired me to want to learn more about ALS. I was also inspired to take action.”
As a result, Cody was captain of his own team at the ALS walk in Fresno on October 30. “Cody’s Crew,” as they were known, had 12 walkers this year and their determined young leader hopes to grow his team next year.
“Cody’s Crew raised $1100 for ALS research,” says proud mom Heather, adding that Cody raised $890 of that amount by himself, and the team exceeded its goal overall.
ALS is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe, according to Cody’s fundraising page.
“The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries.
“This crippling disease can strike anyone. Presently there is no known cause of the disease though support is bringing researchers closer to an answer. In the mean time it costs an average of $200,000 a year to provide the care ALS patients need.”
Fundraising efforts area ongoing, and with the season of giving at hand, interested readers many want to help make a difference and donate or join a walk today.