Northport High School held it's annual Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) fundraiser which supports ALS research, at Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York on the evening of Thursday, January 12th. The event is run by 43 high school students ranging in age from 15 to 17. Each year they honor several Heroes for Hope that give support and inspiration to the students and the charity. Past honorees include Curtis Martin, Nick Swisher, Billy Baldwin, Curt Schilling, and Edie Falco. This year honorees were Christine Taylor, Katie Couric and New York Yankee Dave Robertson. Although Ms. Couric and Mr. Robertson were unable to attend, they sent video messages to the students thanking them for the honor.
Katie Couric stated in her message "In my TV career I've interviewed presidents and politicians, prime ministers, actors and authors, even Lady Gaga, but believe me, my most rewarding work has been raising money and awareness to fight cancer. I know personally how good it feels to do something so meaningful, and how much you all are learning from this experience."
The group has raised over $2 million dollars for ALS research since organizing the event eight years ago when a second teacher was strucken with ALS. In 2006 students started the ALS Research program where the students participate in ALS research over the summer at the following labs: Jenifer Estess Stem Cell Lab, Jackson Labs, ALS TDI, Columbia University, ALS HOPE, Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook. AMND has also created and funded a variety of ALS-related initiatives including a patient services program for those diagnosed with ALS, and a Philanthropy Center that teaches grade school students about the importance of philanthropic work in their lives.
Those in attendance also included: Students and faculty of the Northport High School, Billy Baldwin (Gossip Girl), Adam Graves (New York Rangers), Jackie Martling (Comedian).