Man rises to challenge – dons a kilt – and marches for ALS research

CHICAGO — Brian Wallach loves a challenge - especially one that involves a kilt.

Wednesday he was joined by dozens of supporters, the Chicago Police Honor Guard and the Emerald Society as they made the Kilt Walk for a Cure.

The group, complete with bagpipes, marched down Michigan Avenue.

“This started with a phone call and dare,” Wallach said. “As we walk down the street, every smile, every nod made me realize we are one step closer to the cure every day. That is an amazing thing to be able to say

Wallach has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. Wallach was diagnosed with the fatal neurodegenerative disease two years ago. The husband and father of two young daughters decided to fight and created “I Am ALS,”  a campaign to bring awareness to the disease in hopes of finding a cure.

“The time is near when we will not just cure ALS but Parkinson’s and Alzeheimers and so many other neuro diseases that have not be addressed,” Wallach’s wife Sandra Abrevaya said.

Piggy backing off the popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” from five years ago that raised hundreds of millions of dollars for ALS research, Wallach took on a dare from a friend to get 10,000 Twitter followers for the IAmALS account.  If he was successful he had to walk down the Mag Mile wearing a kilt in order to get $20,000 dollars for ALS research.  He did it in five days.

“This is a disease that has taken so many lives, it doesn’t need to take anymore,” Abrevaya said.

As Wallach celebrated his 39th birthday, he also celebrated being one step closer to finding a cure for ALS.

“When I was diagnosed, the thought that we could be here was a dream,” he said. “That dream is coming real and today was a very vivid and very incredible reminder of that.”

Wallach calls it a dream because people typically live two to five years after diagnosis. He is encouraging anyone who wants to learn more or do more for ALS research to check out his website iamals.org.

 

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