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Media Contact: Jenica Lancy
Director of Marketing and Communications

The ALS Association Goldenwest Chapter




Mini walk logo


Community invited to the 7th annual Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS on Saturday, September 14, 2019 to support the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS

The ALS Association Golden West Chapter hosts its seventh annual Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Kapiolani Regional Park in Honolulu. This annual event brings incredible energy and an outpouring of support for those affected by ALS in Hawaii. Participants are invited to join other members of the community for a family-friendly morning of celebration, exercise, education, awareness, music, food, and keiki fun.

On-site registration opens at 8:30am, opening ceremonies at 10:00 am.  The nearly two-mile scenic Walk starts and ends at Kapiolani Park Bandstand.  This special community event is open to the public, and all funds raised support the interdependent mission priorities of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in care services, public policy, and research.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  ALS is not contagious and does not discriminate – it affects men and women of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic communities around the world. For unknown reasons, those who have served in the military are diagnosed with ALS nearly twice as often as the general population.  People with ALS lose their ability to move, speak, swallow, and eventually the ability to breathe, while all five senses typically continue to function normally. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis. Currently, there are only two drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only extend life by a few months.  At this time, there is no known cure.

Since its inception in 2012, the Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS has played an important role in the Golden West Chapter’s efforts to increase direct services and support for those living with the disease, as well as their families and caregivers, throughout the islands. Over the past seven years, the Walk has raised $615,000 to establish proactive regional care along with continued outreach into underserved communities.

The annual Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS is an opportunity for the ALS community to gather in a show of support and unity, and to fuel the search for effective treatments and cures. The event will include a Zumba warm-up and other special local entertainment, along with a Keiki Zone, food and giveaways.  At the event, the Golden West Chapter will honor the following individuals for their leadership and dedication to Hawaii’s ALS community:

  • Former Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. of Kauai will be receiving the ‘Ohana Award, for his ongoing and unwavering support of families touched by ALS.

  • Mike Ladera and Sean Ornellas will both receive the Walk Hero Award for their courageous and inspirational efforts in the areas of advocacy, fundraising, and public awareness while living with ALS. The two are cousins from Kauai battling familial ALS.

  • Kathy O’Connor will receive the Walk’s inaugural Never Give Up Award, for serving as an exemplary caregiver to her brother, Brian, who just recently lost his battle with ALS.

“The family-friendly Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS is a celebration of life,” said Jennifer Schack, Regional Director of Community Outreach in Hawaii for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. “We bring families, friends, supporters and the community together to sustain one another, to share in the victories, to hug through the losses, but most of all to celebrate the friendships they have made on this journey.”

Online registration is free. For more information, register for the event, or make a gift in support, please visit You may also contact Jennifer Schack at (808) 888-9627 or For more information about ALS and how you can help, please visit

About The ALS Association and The Golden West Chapter

The mission of the ALS Association is to discover treatments and cures for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. Our vision is to create a world without ALS.

We are a member of the National Health Council and the only National organization solely dedicated to fighting ALS on all fronts while directly serving the ALS community. 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 ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and cures.

The Golden West Chapter serves people with ALS and their families in the state of Hawaii and 31 counties throughout California. Everything we do advances the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS.  For the seventh consecutive year, we have earned the highest rating possible from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, in recognition of our ongoing commitment to sound fiscal management, accountability and transparency. Only 6% of the charitable organizations rated receive this exceptional distinction.

For more information about The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, please visit us at