Family Conquers Hurdles Together to Raise Funds and Awareness for ALS, Also Known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, this Saturday July 9 at the Central Coast Century

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Matt Chaney and his family are committed to helping others facing ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, despite their personal losses and challenges. The family will be at the Central Coast Century Ride and Walk to Defeat ALS this Saturday July 9. Come and join them!

The Chaneys and Team Hot Dawg

The Chaneys and Team Hot Dawg

ALS knows no boundaries. Please don't wait for ALS to get any closer to home than this article. Get involved now in a manner suitable to you

Matt Chaney and his family are committed to helping others facing ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, despite their personal losses and challenges. The family will be at the Central Coast Century Ride and Walk to Defeat ALS this Saturday July 9. Come and join them!

In February 2001, at the age of forty, Matt Chaney was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When these cells die, voluntary muscle control and movement dies with them. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from time of diagnosis. But with recent advances in research and improved medical care, many patients are living longer, more productive lives. Although he is unable to do many of the things that he used to, Matt leads a very active life, driven by his community service. “I have a very slow progression that has allowed me many experiences, some I may never have had without having ALS.” Matt shares. He is known for his commitment in his local schools, with Lafayette Little League, and his work with the The ALS Association Golden West Chapter.

Matt along with his loving wife of 23 years, Liz, and his sons Dylan and Brian, have approached the challenge of living with ALS as a family. In 2004, the Chaney's started their participation in all seven of the chapter's Walks to Defeat ALS, served as the honorary chairpersons that Walk Season, and were honored with the Chapter’s All-Star award for their contributions. In 2005, the Chaney's formed “Team Hot Dawg” to participate in two of the Ride to Defeat ALS events, one held in the Wine Country and the other known as the Central Coast Century.

The Central Coast Century Ride and Walk to Defeat ALS has grown into an annual event to create awareness and raise funds for people with ALS. Held each summer at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, at Avila Beach, it is known not only because of the area's spectacular scenery and excellent riding conditions, but also for the personal attention shown by the organizers to the participants, and for the reward of helping people with ALS. Despite his progression with the disease, Matt continues to physically participate as a rider, and will be participating on July 9.

This year marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic death of Matt’s father-in-law, Dr. Joseph Miller, in a cycling accident, while training for this ride. Joe was an accomplished engineer, violinist, cyclist, and professor. He spent his professional career at TRW where he was Vice President of Advanced Technology. His engineering feats included the Apollo 11 lunar module descent engine and the development of high energy lasers. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an adjunct professor at UCLA, Concertmaster of the Pacific Palisades Symphony, and an avid cyclist. But most of all, he was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.

The entire Chaney family will gather, along with their friends, to honor Joe, support Matt, and just be together at the ride. This year, they will be participating in the 15 mile route of the Ride's three scenic cycling routes. The Chaney’s are a remarkable family, who in spite of their personal losses and challenges, are committed to helping others facing ALS. Since Matt's diagnosis, they have spoken with media, school groups, and at public events including the Major League Baseball's 4ALS celebration. Matt and Liz also speak directly to several new patients every year. "Raising public awareness about ALS is very important to all of us." says Matt.

In 2008, Matt joined the Chapter's board of directors, where he continues to serve today. "Living with ALS affects everyone anywhere near to the person with the disease, both physically and mentally,” said Matt. “The chapter provides assistance to people with ALS and their families to cope with the daily challenges, and funds for international research to find a cause, treatment and cure. A donation to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter fights this horrific disease on all fronts. Volunteering your time allows the chapter to maximize their efforts and stretch the donations as far as possible.”

“After passing the 10th anniversary of my diagnosis, even with no known cause, treatment or cure, I will shoot for another 10 years." said Matt. "ALS knows no boundaries,” Matt adds, “Please don't wait for ALS to get any closer to home than this article. Get involved now in a manner suitable to you"

The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is leading the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. For more information about ALS, visit http://www.alsagoldenwest.org.

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