On April 20, 2020, I will be running the Boston Marathon for the ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter. I'm running for my friend, Scott Pilarz, S.J., who was diagnosed with ALS nearly two years ago and I've committed to raising $10,000 to help find a cure for this horrible disease.
I met Scott in the late 90's when I was a student at Georgetown University and he was a professor. Scott was the young, cool professor who was fun and engaging and who made spirituality and life lessons palatable to college kids. After my friends and I graduated, we grew even closer to Scott as we gathered every summer at his family's house on the Jersey Shore. Those weekends were filled with laughs, dancing on tables to Bruce Springsteen, and great discussions about life.
After Georgetown, Scott became the president of the University of Scranton in 2003 where he transformed the school through his leadership and a massive capital campaign. He then became the president of Marquette University and Georgetown Preparatory School before returning to Scranton last year to be the president again. I have seen firsthand how Scott's passion and dedication has impacted thousands of students throughout his career as an educator, administrator, and mentor.
Scott is the center and heart of our friend circle and I cannot even begin to describe how he has enriched my life over the last 20+ years. He is our compass and North Star. He has guided each of us through the best and worst moments of our lives and only asked in return that we love, care and look out for each other and try to make the world a better place. ALS is slowly taking our friend and we are crushed that we cannot stop it.
I returned from a recent visit with Scott feeling helpless and angry that I can't do anything about what's happening to him. While I was there, we were talking about how he ran the 2002 Marine Corps Marathon and it saddened me that he can't run anymore and never will again. But then I realized I can run, and I can run for Scott, so that's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to raise at least $10,000 for the ALS Association but I need your help doing that. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which eventually leads to muscle paralysis. The disease is always fatal. There is no cure and people with ALS live an average of 2-5 years after diagnosis. This disease is cruel and insidious and we have to find a cure for it and support those who are living with it and their caretakers.
The vision of the ALS Association is to create a world without ALS. Its mission is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. Its core values are COMPASSION, INTEGRITY, and URGENCY.
The ALS Association is the largest funder of non-government sponsored research in the country. Its care services programs help patients and family members by providing support groups, equipment loans, assistive technology, insurance and benefits counseling, and much more. It also advocates at the federal level for funding and laws to benefit ALS patients. The money raised by the runners of Team Challenge ALS in the Boston Marathon will be used to support all of these programs and hopefully lead us closer to creating a world without ALS!
If you are able to make a donation to my marathon fundraiser, please click the "Donate" tab. Every little bit counts and no donation is too small.
Thank you so much for considering a donation.
This is for Scott.