‘Brewsters’ seek to raise $30,000 for ALS research

Chronicle Media
Meredith and Bruce Lindgren are raising funds for research to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Photo / Al Benson

Meredith and Bruce Lindgren are raising funds for research to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Photo / Al Benson

For a second year, an Aurora couple is working to raise funds for research to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Bruce Lindgren of Aurora, 58, was diagnosed with ALS in September 2013.

To raise funds for research and treatment, he and his wife Meredith are recruiting walkers and donations for Brucester’s Brewsters, a team set to hike in the greater Chicago Walk to Defeat ALS on May 30, at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

After registration at 8 a.m., the two-mile walk kicks off at 10 a.m. Goal of the Chicago walk is $650,000.

Brucester’s Brewsters’ goal is $30,000. Funds raised by May 5 totaled $15,828, including $8,428 to the Lindgrens and $2,100 from Wesley church members.

“I can’t tell you how much it meant to Meredith and me to have so many of our friends and family participate in last year’s walk,” Bruce Lindgren said. “They helped us to far exceed our expectations in the amount of money raised for the ALS Association of Greater Chicago.

“The outpouring of love and concern were humbling. We were energized by the email notifications and messages from all of the participants on our team.”

Meredith said 115 Wesley church members and friends participated in last year’s walk.

“They helped us to raise over $39,000, the largest amount ever raised by a team at the event!”

Brucester’s Brewsters was the largest team in the 2014 Chicago area walk.

According to Bruce Lindgren, the team’s name originated from a small group he started at the church to brew craft beers.

“The only thing we like better than brewing our beer is drinking other craft beers,” he said. “So, this walk is all about fun. What’s more fun than being a Brewster? The party after the walk at my house will feature several Brewster home brews. Refreshments and a live band are planned.”

After an initial 2014 team goal of $2,500 was quickly surpassed, the goal was raised to $10,000 and then  $15,000.

In addition to the walk, the 2015 event will feature music, games and food vendors.

Walkers of all ages are welcome but no dogs or bicycles are allowed in Cantigny.

To donate or walk, call (630) 844-2520, email brucelindgren535@icloud.com or visit webchicago.alsa.org/goto/brucestersbrewsters.

Bruce Lindgren is part of a Mayo Clinic study that is investigating treatment using patient stem cells. A longtime active Wesley UMC member, he leads the Mug Club, a men’s social group which meets Thursday mornings at a local Starbucks restaurant; and Recycle your Bicycle, a partnership with Aurora’s Hesed House homeless shelter.

He also portrayed the apostle Andrew in the church’s “Living Last Supper” production in April 2014.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord.  When these cells die, voluntary muscle control and movement dies with them.  Patients in the later stages of the disease are totally paralyzed, yet in most cases, their minds remain sharp and alert.

Every day, an average of 15 people are newly diagnosed with ALS — more than 5,600 people per year. As many as 30,000 Americans may currently be affected by ALS. Annually, ALS is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 people.

The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from time of diagnosis.  With recent advances in research and improved medical care, many patients are living longer, more productive lives. Half of all those affected live at least three years or more after diagnosis.  About 20 percent live five years or more, and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years.

ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. ALS can strike anyone. Every single American is threatened by this disease.