Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a rapidly progressive disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. Eventually, patients lose their strength and ability to move their arms, legs and body. When muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, patients cannot breathe without ventilator support. Most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, on average within two to three years. About 90 percent of patients die within 5 years.
Ride For Life Inc. was founded in 1998 by Chris Pendergast, a Long Island school teacher diagnosed with ALS aka Lou Gehrig's disease, along with other ALS patients, caregivers and those who care about people living with ALS.
We are called "Ride For Life" because of our annual event in which ALS patients ride their wheelchairs down the highways and byways, over 150 miles, to raise funds for a cure and create awareness of this fatal disease. The patients are literally riding for their lives and the lives of the other 30,000 Americans stricken with ALS. Without a medical miracle breakthrough, they will not survive. Over the past ten years, the ride has gone from Yankee Stadium to Washington DC, from Manhattan to Montauk and from Montauk to Manhattan. The rides are usually nine days in duration with stops along the way at schools, parks and businesses. The organization has several other events during the course of the year.
Ride for life grants 50% of our income to research for a cure. 40% to patient services such as grants for respite and legal aid, scholarships for HS seniors impacted by ALs, communication devices, wheelchairs, etc. and 10% to awareness.