Buena Vista, community stride for the cure

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Advanced sports management class raises $6,200 towards awareness

May is ALS Awareness Month.

Friday evening in Storm Lake, Lindsey Kruse and company did a bangup job of creating just that-to the tune of nearly $6,200.

Kruse, an exercise science instructor and head volleyball coach at Buena Vista University, co-piloted Stride For A Cure along with her Advanced Sports Management class.

The 5-kilometer fundraising run/walk for ALS was the brainchild of Kruse and her coaching colleagues at the 2003 AVCA volleyball convention in Dallas, Texas, while they tossed around ideas for hands-on activities to enliven their classes.

As if on cue, the week's relentless rainfall took a timeout Friday. Approximately 220 participants-including BVU sports information director Nick Huber, who churned up the 3.1 miles from his motorized wheel chair-enjoyed exercise and camaraderie over the course that looped around the southwestern edge of town, beginning and ending just outside J. Leslie Rollins Stadium. From Josh Saba (who finished first in 17 minutes, 11 seconds) to the cabooses chatting it up beyond his rearview mirror, from the energizing music to the free food afterwards, the event was a hit.

"I was extremely pleased with how everything went," Kruse said. "The weather turned out to be nice, and I thought the students did a nice job of dealing with any minor issues that arose."

The money raised went to the ALS Association Iowa Chapter.

Huber, 27, was an inspiration for Kruse's students, many of whom compete in BVU sports or work with Huber in the athletic department.

He was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in October 2003.

Commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS attacks the motor neurons that control the body's voluntary muscles. It progresses rapidly from weakness in the limbs to total paralysis, including the muscles that regulate swallowing, breathing and speech. It is considered an orphan disease because not enough people have it at any given time to convince the major drug companies to invest the millions of dollars in research it would take to find a cure.

Huber said the Advanced Sports Management class without a doubt accomplished its goal, and that Friday is a day he'll never forget.

"(The class) did an outstanding job of organizing the event. I thought that the turnout was tremendous. I know that there were some anxious moments during the day and when the weather looked questionable," Huber said. "We were fortunate to have a nice window on an otherwise cruddy weekend weather-wise. It means a lot to me that so many people would come together to support a cause as near to my heart as ALS.

"I will certainly remember and treasure that day the rest of my life."

For Kruse's class, Stride For A Cure fulfilled the twin requirements of tackling a hands-on experience that involved a service learning project. It allowed them to plan, organize and implement their ideas into a project.

"This year the students chose to have all of their funds go towards the ALS Association," said Kruse. "The main reason they chose this specific organization is their close ties with (Huber)."

This wasn't the first time Kruse's Advanced Sports Management class raised money for a cause.

Last year, it raised $2,500 and brought out 140 runners for a 5K fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

5 Facts About ALS (from the ALSA)

* In most cases, mental faculties are not affected.

* It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually. More people die every year of ALS than of Huntington's disease and about equal to multiple sclerosis. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.

* About 20 percent of people with ALS live five years or more and and up to 10 percent will survive more than 10 years, and 5 percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.

* ALS can strike anyone.

* ALS is not contagious.

Top 5 finishers


1. Josh Saba,17:11; 2. Jacob Flaws, 17:20; 3. Jordan Flaws, 17:39; 4. Zach Newberg, 17:49; 5. John Topham, 17:58


1. Rebekah Topham, 18:13; 2. Tracy Hartwig, 20:55; 3. Courtney Stoelk, 21:34; 4. Melissa Reinhart, 23:00; 5. Sara Long, 23:13

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