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Glen Ellyn resident plans ALS fundraiser in honor of father

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:00 a.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – After Tracey Kreiling of Glen Ellyn learned her father had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, she decided to take action, participating in 12 5K runs in 12 months to honor her dad, who used to walk every day.

“My dad couldn’t walk, my dad couldn’t run,” Kreiling said. “He was a very active individual, and I figured that was the best way to pay homage to him.”

Although her dad passed away just nine months after his diagnosis, Kreiling’s fight continues, and now she’s inviting the rest of the Glen Ellyn community to get involved.

On Friday, Kreiling’s friends and family and others in the community who have been affected by ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) will collect donations at intersections in the village for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

From 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., residents will be able to donate at Main Street and Crescent Boulevard, Park Boulevard and Duane Street, and Main Street and Hillside Avenue.

The Les Turner ALS Foundation is based in the Chicago area and focuses on patient and family services, research, and education and awareness. Each May, the foundation honors ALS Awareness Month with a series of Tag Day drives led by volunteers who collect donations at street intersections and other areas throughout their communities.

ALS is a degenerative disease that affects motor neurons, which carry impulses from the brain to the muscles, according to information on the Les Turner ALS Foundation website, www.lesturnerals.org. The average survival for someone with ALS is three to five years, and while many symptoms are treatable, there is no cure to the disease.

Kreiling said ALS was the first disease to impact her family directly, especially since it can sometimes be hereditary. Knowing that her father may not be the last member of her family to suffer from ALS has only made Kreiling work harder to do what she can to support research and services now.

“I spent a lifetime campaigning for other non-profits and organizations ... and it seems like maybe it was all in preparation to get on board with ALS and try to make a difference,” Kreiling said. “I feel a bit anxious to do everything I can to make the statistics of this disease change in my lifetime.”

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