Foursome to Climb Mt. Rainier to Defeat ALS to Raise Funds to Eradicate Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Support The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter

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Stephen Smith of Columbia Falls, Mont. is leading a Mt. Rainier Climb to Defeat ALS on August 4-7 to support those who cannot climb the highest mountain in the Evergreen State. Smith and his team of four have set a goal to raise $10,000 for “Team Schroeder” for the Missoula Walk to Defeat ALS® event and help fund treatments and a cure for those living with ALS.

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Stephen Smith of Columbia Falls, Mont. is leading a Mt. Rainier Climb to Defeat ALS on August 4-7 to support those who cannot climb the highest mountain in the Evergreen State.

Smith’s effort is in honor of his friend, Dr. Erik Schroeder of Whitefish, Mont. who was recently diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2011. Smith and his team of four have set a goal to raise $10,000 for “Team Schroeder” for the Missoula Walk to Defeat ALS® event and help fund treatments and a cure for those living with ALS.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative muscular disease that affects a person’s ability to breathe, eat, move, and swallow. An estimated 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time, and approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. ALS can strike anyone; people with the disease usually have a survival rate of two to five years from the time of their diagnoses.

Smith’s passion for mountaineering helped him decide to walk “vertically” to the summit of Mt. Rainier at 14,411 feet after Dr. Schroeder thought the Missoula Walk to Defeat ALS® is approximately 13,200 ft. long. Smith said, “If our team is successful in reaching the summit, we will actually climb 10,000 feet vertically up and 10,000 feet vertically down. Yes, we may need Erik's orthopedic assistance with our joints after this, but it will be worth it!”

The 2012 Mt. Rainier Climb to Defeat ALS consists of Stephen Smith, Columbia Falls, Mont.; Rennie Guyer, Roseburg, Ore.; Mike Nelson, Corvallis, Ore., and Don Arthur, Kalispell, Mont. Smith and Arthur are both active members of the Glacier Mountaineering Society based in Glacier National Park, and Smith has organized and led five previous expeditions to Mt. Rainier. He has enjoyed sharing the magic of "The Mountain" (as it is referred to regionally) with others during the past several years.

“Rainier is not a mountain that is conquered; ultimately, it will decide our success or failure, so as such we give The Mountain a wide berth and much respect. It is probably similar with the quest to find a cure for ALS: careful planning, research and decision making are required, all of which cost money,” Smith said. “That is why I am hoping for your support with the long term goal of finding a solution for this vicious disease that can strike healthy individuals like Erik.”

The 6th Annual Missoula Walk to Defeat ALS® fundraising event will be held at McCormick Park on Saturday, October 6th. The goal is to raise $78,000 to help support local patient care services including free equipment loans, educational resources, and patient home health visits. Last year Team Schroeder helped raise more than $37,000!

To help support Smith and Team Schroeder, please visit http://web.alsa.org/goto/RainierClimb or mail your gift to The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter, c/o Stephen Smith/ Team Schroeder, Missoula Walk, 19115 68th Ave S Ste. H-10, Kent, WA 98032-2110.

The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at http://www.alsa-ec.org.

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