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June 15, 2006 - “Sunset In The Park" with The ALS Association

What: Dining and Silent Auction at City Park

Where: City Park Pavilion

When: June 15, 2006

Time: 6pm to 9pm

Ticket Prices: $75 single, $125 couple

Beneficiary: The ALS Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter

Host(s): Board President Brian Cook,

Executive Director: Pam Rush-Negri

Staff: Leslie Ryan, Director-Patient Services, Craig Adams, Patient Svcs Coord. and Janet Kawamura, Admin. Assistant

Introductions: Brian Cook

Catering: K&M Concessions

Entertainment: The Nacho Men

Attendance: 150-200

Attire: Party Casual

Event Coordinator: Alisa Zapiler, Creative Events & Occasions

Board of Directors: Brian Cook, President , Tom Carley, President-Elect Pat Bailey, Vice President , Julie Bloom, Secretary David Shouse , Marty Skolnick, Treasurer , Mike Merriman Kent Matthews , Rob Borkes, Rob Beckerdite Dr. Marc Treihaft, Mark Williams and Cathy Bodine, Past President

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 Some of the Board of Directors of The ALS Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter
Some of the Board of Directors of The ALS Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter

The phrase, Sunset in the Park, conjures up images of warm summer nights, savory foods, music and dancing; and that’s exactly what The ALS Association-Rocky Mountain Chapter brought to Denver’s City Park on the evening of Thursday the 15th of June.

Guests began arriving at the City Park Pavilion; a little known treasure of an event space, around 6:30 and were greeted by board president Brian Cook and board member Mark Williams Esq. before registering. Also on arriving they were tantalized by the aroma of a mouthwatering meal being prepared by K&M Concessions. Although the evening was all about relaxing at the park, attendees were given the opportunity of showing their support and appreciation by bidding on a variety of silent auction items.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig's disease,’ is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. Yet, through it all, for the vast majority of people, their minds remain unaffected.” The ALS Association-Rocky Mountain Chapter

Although ALS/PALS is often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig's’ disease, many other well know people have suffered from it including. Stephen Hawking-Theoretical physicist, Huddie ("Leadbelly”) Ledbetter-folk singer, Arch Nicholson-film director, Dimitri Shostakovich-Composer, Henry Wallace-Vice President of the United States, Glenn Montgomery-Professional Football Player and Jim "Catfish" Hunter-Hall of Fame Baseball Player, in fact someone is diagnosed with ALS every ninety minutes.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of The ALS Association is one of the many organizations throughout the country, and the world, striving to; to increase awareness of ALS, to stimulate public support and volunteerism in the fight against ALS, to provide funds for scientific research directed at identifying the cause and cure of ALS.

Some of the programs that The ALS Association-Rocky Mountain Chapter provide are information about ALS, guidance on local resources, The David B McEachran Augmentative Communication loan program, In-home visits, The Pete Duranko Respite Care program, a durable medical equipment loan closet and support groups that focus on sharing thoughts and information in a comfortable atmosphere.

To accomplish these ends, The ALS association promotes several events; RIDING THE ROCKIES FOR AN ALS CURE, coming up on the 18th of June, through individual supporters like Sybil Praski who is dedicating her entrance into the IRONMAN in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 25th with the matching sponsorship of the Janus Funds. Walk to D'feet ALS, The ALS Association's national signature event which is coming to Denver in September, and of course “Sunset in the Park” which is more successful each year.

This year’s event, coordinated by Alisa Zapiler of Creative Events & Occasions, was a wonderful way to spend a weekday night and support a crucial organization. Before the meal attendees relaxed on the veranda overlooking the park and bid on items that included, sports memorabilia, health and beauty aids, art, jewelry, gift certificates, food baskets and wine.

The delicious meal consisted of a “How you like it?” pasta bar, mash potato bar with all the fixins and roast turkey, several incredible salads and a to die for dessert array.

The event ran at a casual pace and when President of the Board Brian addressed the seated guests he was brief, Brian thanked everyone for attending and specifically asked the board of directors to stand and be acknowledged. To truly tell the tale, of the trials of ALS sufferers and the beautiful work of the ALS association a short video was shown. The film produced by Joe Negri, not only recapped the history of ALS but also gently reminded its viewers how crucial their help was in supporting The ALS Association-Rocky Mountain Chapter now and in the future.

Following the film, Executive Director Pam Rush-Negri added her thanks to the staff and volunteers who give of their hearts and lives to support the ALS Association.

Setting a musical background for the entire event from start to finish was The Nacho Men, whose unique combination of dance music, costume changes, choreography and humor makes them Colorado's favorite musical performance group. Each member of The Nacho Men is a multi-talented performer. They performed Swing, 50's, 60's, disco, and beyond, the band's musical repertoire is as versatile and varied as the performers.

"You have to get knocked down to realize how people really feel about you. I've realized that more than ever lately. The other day, I was on my way to the car. It was hailing, the streets were slippery and I was having a tough time of it. I came to a corner and started to slip. But before I could fall, four people jumped out of nowhere to help me. When I thanked them, they all said they knew about my illness and had been keeping an eye on me." Lou Gehrig

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