FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines raised more than $800,000 for Answer ALS through the second annual American Airlines Charity Golf Tournament and live auction in Dallas May 24-25.
“We are proud to partner with Answer ALS on behalf of all American team members, including Peter Warlick, vice president – Finance, who was recently diagnosed with ALS,” said American’s chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Peter is a champion for all American team members fighting this disease. And we believe there is a real opportunity to bring attention to orphan diseases, like ALS, that require additional awareness and fundraising support in order to bring them to an end. It means a great deal to the American family to host this event in our hometown.”
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it.
More than 200 golf enthusiasts and individuals passionate about finding a cure for ALS came together to raise funds to further research of the disease, including former NFL Safety for the New Orleans Saints, Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
Last week Gleason took his first commercial flight in four years onboard American Airlines to attend the event. He spoke to attendees just before the live auction Wednesday evening. “We know if we are going to find solutions to ALS, a disease with no known cure, or viable treatment, we have to be bigger than the disease. But, I hear everything is bigger in Texas, so, this is right in your wheelhouse. I believe it is a pivotal time for ALS.”
“As an ALS researcher, it’s incredible to see leaders in business come together for this cause,” commented Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, director of the Brain Science Institute and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University and the executive director of the Answer ALS research project. “American’s commitment and leadership has raised much needed funds to continue the important work we are doing to help solve ALS. The Answer ALS research project is the largest coordinated and aggressive ALS research effort designed to quickly find answers to a disease that’s largely been a mystery. So, we are grateful committed groups like those American gathered for the tournament are also being aggressive in helping us raise those needed dollars.”
In 2016 American announced a multi-year financial commitment of $1 million to the Answer ALS research project through the Answer ALS Foundation. The funds raised at the charity golf tournament are in addition to that commitment. Answer ALS and American have also partnered to assist American team members and their dependents with navigation of the disease, expert clinic referrals, resources for Medicare benefit information, new assistive technologies such as voice banking and more.
“My wife Liz has been with American for 38 years, I’m a medically retired pilot from US Airways and I have ALS. I’d actually be flying an American plane now had the disease not affected me,” commented John Nyquist. “ALS throws you for a loop, instead of being a pilot, up in front in control of the airplane, it’s like now I’m in the last row of the airplane in control of absolutely nothing. I’m proud of American’s commitment to help, it means a lot.”
The Answer ALS project involves 1,000 patients and nearly two dozen research entities at leading institutions, making it the largest ALS research effort ever undertaken. There are six clinical sites for the project: Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington University, Ohio State University, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.