From Flight Global – Edward Russell

The aviation finance industry rallied for one of their own at the annual ISTAT Americas conference this year, putting their money where their mouths are in support of American Airlines vice-president of finance Peter Warlick.

Individuals and organisations have donated more than $2.1 million to date to Answer ALS, a non-profit that funds a coordinated research effort to cure ALS, through his organisation Warlick’s Warriors.

“My hope is that the aviation community will, as it has with other challenging issues, help drive a cure,” says Warlick on the sidelines of the conference.

Warlick, who has worked at American since the mid-1990s including on major deals like the airline’s 2013 order for 90 large regional jets, was diagnosed with ALS in August 2015.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that takes the lives of at least 5,000 people in the USA and tens of thousands of people globally every year.

After coming to terms with his diagnosis, Warlick looked at what he could do to change the course of the disease. He opted to set-up Warlick’s Warriors as an organisation that would leverage his relationships in aviation finance to raise funds for Answer ALS.

Answer ALS’s focus on collaborative research, open source data and its approach to the disease attracted Warlick to the organisation, he says. They break from the traditional medical research model, where research is done individually with data kept confidential until publication.

Warlick’s Warriors is an all-volunteer organisation with no overhead with all funds going directly to Answer ALS, says Warlick.

American launched the initiative with a $1 million donation in September 2016. The organisation continues to seek both individual and organisational donations towards a goal of $5 million.

“Peter has become a champion for all American employees fighting this disease by exploring the current state of research available to those afflicted with ALS, and determining more can be done,” said Doug Parker, chief executive of American, in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Peter and Answer ALS on behalf of all American employees who are suffering from ALS.”