ALS walk set for September in Dozer Park

Local News

This week in downtown Peoria, thousands will come together for the walk to defeat ALS. WMBD’s Bob Larson said there is still plenty of time for the community to help raise funds for ALS’s research.

The community can get involved by participating in the Sept. 7 ALS walk.

Larson said four years ago a good friend of his was given that diagnosis. Ed Rapp, a friend, a former neighbor and former group president at Caterpillar is continuing to work with ALS to hopefully find a cure by studying thousands of ALS patients using big data.

He said he is well into the study.

“We’re doing genetic mapping, clinical data, all the RNA, DNA… Five billion data points on each of the thousand loaded onto data base. Then when we get it built out, we’re making it available to anyone doing research on ALS for free,” Rapp said.

Eight institutions and several big companies are collaborating to conduct this massive 40 million dollar genetic study. Rapp said he is using what he learned about problem solving at his 37 years at caterpillar to help doctors and scientists unravel the mystery of ALS.

“The thing I always knew from my days at CAT., is until you understand the root cause, then you don’t have a solution. I think the same applies to a disease like als. Until we understand the pathway, you know any drug trial is going to be shot in the dark. That’s what we’re trying to do. From big data, turn it loose to anybody doing analytics, articulations intelligence. From that, have them discover the subgroups of ALS. Once you do that, then you can turn research and pharma companies loose,” Rapp said.

Other than mobility, Rapp is doing remarkably well after nearly four years since his diagnosis, and plans to take part in this year’s walk at Dozer Park.

The walk will take place Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. and hopes all of you will join him. Check in begins at 8 in the morning.

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