Local Women Plan Event for ALS after Personal Losses

Published 08/22 2014 06:04PM

Updated 08/22 2014 06:26PM

The ALS Association as received more than $53 million in donations between July 29 and August 21. That’s more than $50 million more than what was raised in that same time in 2013.

While thousands of people continue taking the viral “ice bucket challenge,” two Central Illinois women are taking action locally to raise awareness.

“While we have lighthearted ways of showing our support [for ALS research], the reality of it is ALS is a very serious disease and it effects people very dramatically,” said Amanda Donald.

ALS hits close to home for Amanda Donald and Melanie Dittrich. They both lost their fathers to the disease.

“My father did not have any issues with his vocal cords, swallowing, or anything of that nature,” said Dittrich. “His issues simply were that his body failed him. He was of sound mind up the entire time up until he passed away.”

The two women decided to turn their grief into hope for a cure. They are the co-founders of Dad’s Dash Run to Defeat ALS. It’s a race that takes place on September 13 at the Peoria Riverfront.

“All of the funds that we raise with our efforts stay in Central Illinois for care services and support for families dealing with this disease,” explained Donald.

“Hopefully one day we can do something so that other families aren't going through what I went through,” added Dittrich, “[so] that they're not going to watch their father in 9 short months be diagnosed and pass away and have absolutely no hope for treatments.”

Both women agree that knowledge is power when it comes to a disease as serious as ALS. They’re thankful that a viral movement is allowing thousands of people to learn more about it.

“People are aware of it. They're finally hearing about it [and] knowing what it is. [They’re] understanding the importance and that there's a need for research and money donated,” said Dittrich.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.