On May 15 a field of 6,000 pinwheels will be on display as part of the University’s annual ALS Ride for Life Celebration and Remembrance Ceremony. Wheelchair-bound patients battling ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) will ride to the pinwheel field at Stony Brook as part of their “Ride for Life,” an event to raise awareness of ALS and funds for ALS research. The pinwheels represent the lives lost to ALS each year, with the hope that a cure is “blowin’ in the wind.” The 2010 ride covers 125 miles, beginning May 10 in the Hamptons and ending along the Hudson River on May 22.
In 2009 the ALS Comprehensive Care Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center became the first ALS Association (ALSA) Certified Center on Long Island. The ALSA is the preeminent national organization that funds ALS research and oversees qualified ALS clinics. The ALSA Center Program defines, establishes, and supports a national standard of care in the management of ALS. The SBUMC facility remains the only ALSA Certified Center on Long Island.
Ride for Life Founder and President Christopher Pendergast, a 17-year ALS survivor, is awarding the Center $65,000 from the 2009 Ride for Life proceeds. Each year the Ride for Life occurs during May, ALS Awareness Month. Since the inception of the ALS Comprehensive Care Center at SBUMC in 2002, Pendergast and the patient advocacy group has granted more than $300,000 to the Center.
The Pinwheel Memorial and Remembrance Ceremony will include a gathering of ALS patients, along with their family and friends, at the South P Lot on West Campus. The ceremony features a Remembrance Tribute, announcing the names of patients lost to the disease, an ecumenical healing prayer service, and a presentation about the ALS Clinic at SBUMC. Before the ride to West Campus, riders will stop at the Long Island State Veterans Home. The event concludes with bicyclists supporting the Ride for Life arriving at the Pinwheel Memorial.
For more information, please visit www.RideForLife.com or call the Ride for Life office at 444-1292.