WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 7, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --CVS/pharmacy has kicked-off its ninth annual in-store fundraising campaign to support the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Since 2002, CVS/pharmacy has partnered with the ALS Therapy Alliance (ATA) to help advance ALS research. To date, CVS/pharmacy has raised more than $19 million in its stores--a single $1 donation at a time--to support the funding of new clinical research with the aim of discovering a treatment or cure for this devastating disease. This year's campaign began on June 6 and runs through June 26.
To help educate the public about ALS, CVS/pharmacy has enlisted the support of two young fathers who are ALS patients to serve as honorary co-chairs of the campaign, along with Executive Vice President of CVS Caremark Jon Roberts who lost his wife to ALS.
Treg Charlton, 44, of Overland Park, Kansas and 38-year-old Jeremy Williams of Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia say they're proud of how they and their families have handled their prognoses and want to be strong 'voices' about the need to find a cure for ALS and the underlying need to fund ALS research.
Charlton, who is a regional director of real estate for CVS Caremark and has two young daughters, was just diagnosed in March and is already experiencing weakened muscles throughout his body. "When my wife Dianne and I found out, we decided right away that we weren't going to sit on the sidelines while ALS wreaked havoc on my body. I told my family and friends not to be frightened or feel sadness or pity for me. I believe I was selected to have this disease to be a voice; to deal with this in a positive manner and to share my love for life and my optimism for finding a cure, with others," Charlton said.
That sentiment is shared by Williams - a man who was featured with his family on the May 16, 2010 season finale of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Williams, who is head coach of the Greenville, Georgia Patriots High School football team, was diagnosed with ALS in June of 2008 and now faces great physical challenges on a daily basis. Married to his high school sweetheart Jennifer and the father of two children - one who has Spina Bifida - Williams is not allowing ALS to dictate how he leads his life. "I'm not going to let ALS beat me or my family or keep me from doing what I want to do. We're going to move ahead full force and be advocates for finding a cure for this horrific disease," he said.
ALS is a disorder in which there is progressive degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord leading to paralysis and death, typically within three to five years. There is no known cause or cure for ALS, which affects 25,000 Americans, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Campaign co-chair Roberts said, "The way that Treg and Jeremy have risen above this terrible disease and have chosen to live life to the fullest while championing funding for ALS research is incredibly admirable and courageous. By sharing their stories publicly, they are putting faces to this devastating disease and can have a great impact on motivating CVS/pharmacy customers to donate to this important campaign."
Dr. Robert H. Brown, Jr., who is Executive Director of ALS Therapy Alliance, said, "Continued research is critical to finding a cure for ALS, but the research can't take place without proper funding. What CVS/pharmacy has provided through this annual in-store fundraising campaign is a novel and powerful vehicle to drive forward research that has never been pursued before. Thanks to the efforts of CVS/pharmacy and its customers, the rate of progress we're making in finding a cure for ALS is taking place faster than ever before."
About ALS Therapy Alliance (ATA)
ATA was founded in 2000 to provide a vehicle for a diverse group of scientists and clinicians to coordinate research related to ALS. The scientists involved in the ATA are affiliated with some of the best universities and medical centers, including, among others, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard College, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts. ATA's board is comprised of outstanding clinicians, scientists and business associates including two Nobel Prize Laureates, H. Robert Horwitz, Ph.D. and Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., who are committed to the organization's mission. CVS Caremark is the largest corporate donor to the ALS Therapy Alliance.
CVS/pharmacy is the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). The Company operates more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://www.cvscaremark.com