CHICAGO — Nearly 6,000 people die every year in the U.S. from ALS. It’s a deadly disease with no known cure. But a husband-and-wife team and local shoe store owners are putting their best foot forward to combat the disease.
Athletic his entire life, Brian Andre said he began to struggle physically while playing sports a few years ago
“I noticed I started with a weakness in my upper arm followed that with weakness developing in my left leg,” he said.
In October of 2016 doctors gave Brian and his wife Lori the grim news. Brian was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a rare progressive neurological disease.
The couple said AS they began to research they discovered how little is known about ALS, that is also known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease.
With no known cure, the couple decided they needed to take a step to help others and bring awareness to ALS the best way they know how - with a sneaker.
“We’re in the shoe business so we thought it just makes sense,” Lori said. “It’s just a natural thing for us to do is to create a shoe to raise money and also to raise awareness to the disease.”
For 36 years Brian and Lori have owned Lori’s Shoes in Lincoln Park. Lori, with the help of her son, designed a women’s slip on sneaker. She says it was created for comfort and style, but more importantly to strike out ALS.
“We came out with strike out ALS to put on the shoe because when you are walking obviously you striking down on the pavement, it sort of made sense to name it strike out ALS,” she said.
The Andres debuted the shoe in September at Chicago’s Walk for Life event and have already sold more than 30 pairs. For every pair sold they donate $50 to the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
Brian said he hopes their efforts will help to find a cure for ALS.
“What we’re pushing for now is advocacy, getting the word out to the general populations so that we raise awareness, raise advocacy and raise funds,” he said.
Brian and Lori Andre are two of Chicago’s Very Own.
More information at lorisshoes.com