Jayne Fallik, Zachary Bogner, Ruby Bogner, Hannah Kostoff, Zach Hess, Jon Hess, Ryan Hess, Deana Hess, Caryle Rolincik, Luke Rolincik, Lavonne Rolincik, Mark Rolincik and Sean Rolincik. Families and organizer of the Compete for a Cure fundraising event for Lou Gehrig's Disease at Fairfax High School.
For three Fairfax High School seniors--Hannah Kostoff, Carley Rolincik and Ryan Hess--a school marketing project became an opportunity to advance a noble cause. On Saturday, Jan. 12, the three seniors organized a fundraising and awareness event for the Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
According to Hess, who initiated the idea, “our objective is to raise awareness about the disease and work with the ALS Association to make people support the association with their money and time.” The event, titled Compete for a Cure, took place at the school’s sport auditorium.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. The cause of the disease is not understood and it presently has no cure.
Hess, whose grandfather has been suffering from the disease for eight years, said “I jumped at the idea right away,” when he learnt of the class project for marketing students. The project is writing a 30-page manual about marketing techniques towards competing at the State Leadership Program coming up in Virginia Beach in early March.
The winner of this event will participate at the International Career Development Conference taking place in California later in the year. The aim of the competition is to develop students’ interest in marketing.
Working together with Rolincik, whose great uncle also died from the disease about 10 years ago, and Kostoff, the group set up a Facebook and Twitter page to raise awareness about the disease among fellow students and the public. They also reached out to corporate sponsors to raise funds for the event.
The event featured a raffle draw and games like basketball shootout, football toss, basketball catch game, a minute to win, badminton, and scooter relay race with the adult teams and the student teams competing with one another.
In attendance was Laura Logan, the representative of the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., chapter of the ALS association, who commended the efforts of the students and described them as “wonderful.”
The group, who has been working on the project since September, did a survey of 450 people and made recommendations to the association, some of which include teen volunteering and the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the disease.
On her experience, Kostoff said, “I now have a better knowledge about the disease and how the community can come together to raise awareness.” Rolincik believes that “awareness will bring more donation to the ALS Association.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, was first brought to national and international attention in 1939, when Lou Gehrig, the famous baseball player, abruptly retired from the game after being diagnosed with the disease. According to the ALS Association website, www.alsa.org, “as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.”
Hess’ grandfather, who suffers from the disease, lives in New Jersey. He described his reaction as “happy” when he heard of the event.