San Diego CA— The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter will be recognized on Thursday, Aug. 5 with an “ALS Awareness Day” celebration by the Swish ProAm League, a summer basketball league featuring professional and college-caliber players, including several San Diego State University Aztecs.
The ALS Association will be featured throughout the five, roughly 50-minute Swish playoff games that will start at 3:30 p.m. Games will be played at the Canyon Crest Academy’s gymnasium in Carmel Valley. The public is invited to attend. Admission is free. Canyon Crest Academy is at 5951 Village Center Loop Road, San Diego off Highway 56.
The first 100 fans in attendance on Aug. 5 will receive a free “Defeat ALS” t-shirt. Also available will be gift coupons to Sonic Drive-in restaurants.
At approximately 6:40 p.m., between the end of a game scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. and the start of the next game at approximately 7:50 p.m., fans will be invited to participate in a free-throw contest and receive a commemorative ALS jacket. There is no cost to participate in the free-throw contest.
Also on Aug. 5, retired San Diego State University basketball coach Steve Fisher is scheduled to appear at the request of the ALS Association. Fisher’s son Mark, who serves in a basketball coaching role at San Diego State University, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter provides programs, services and services to local families living with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure, cause or no life-prolonging treatments for ALS, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the New York Yankee baseball player who passed away from ALS at age 37 in 1941. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis. Life expectancy for a person with ALS is within two to five years of diagnosis of initial symptoms.
“Our family is honored to support the ALS Association and we’re grateful to the Swish League for their support,” said Steve Fisher. “Exposure about the services provided to our son Mark and many other families will help sustain hope and accelerate the research and development of treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS. Thanks to everyone for helping create a world without ALS.”
“We’re excited to host Coach Fisher and proud to contribute our support to the ALS Association,” said Kwaku Amoaku, Swish League commissioner. “We invite everyone in San Diego’s basketball community to join in the fight against the horrible disease of ALS.”
“We’re very grateful for the support by everyone at Swish to create awareness for ALS, which helps the people, families, and caregivers affected by this progressive and terminal disease that takes away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, eat and breathe,” said Steve Becvar, executive director, ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter. “Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes someone loses their battle to this fatal disease. Together and by teaming up, we’re going to create a world without ALS.”
Swish League games feature high-caliber players from top Southern California colleges, universities and high schools. The league is a showcase for agents, scouts and coaches to observe players under game conditions.
Each of the 12 Swish teams has a roster of 12 players, one head coach and an assistant coach. Player participation is by invitation only. Several players on scholarship at SDSU are currently listed on rosters. Occasionally, pro players will participate from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and other pro leagues in the U.S. and Europe.
Swish’s current eight-week season began in June with games played on Thursdays and Saturdays. The season is scheduled to end with the championship game on Saturday, Aug. 7.
The Greater San Diego Chapter, chartered in February 2013, is one of 39 chapters nationwide. The San Diego chapter works closely with the ALS San Diego Clinic at the University of California San Diego, which has been certified as a Center of Excellence by the national ALS organization.
All services for patients and families are provided by the ALS Chapter at no charge. Medical expenses associated with ALS, including medical equipment, programs and services, can cost up to $250,000 annually, depleting families’ life savings. In addition, the Chapter also maintains a 2,500-square-foot storage facility, referred to as a loan closet, with hospital beds, scooters and other durable medical equipment provided to ALS patients and families at no charge. Currently, ALS officials said more than 200 San Diego and Imperial county residents are registered with the local ALS chapter.
The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to fighting against ALS on every front through research, public policy and care services. It is the largest private funder of ALS research in the world. The Association funds global research collaborations, provides assistance for people with ALS and their families through its nationwide network of chapters and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The mission of the ALS Association is to find a cure for and improve the lives of people living with ALS. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, the ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure.
For more information about the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter, visit www.alsasd.org.