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Barrington brigade raises $78K to fight ALS

Paul Launer, with his wife Kris, said they were very proud of the Barrington team's presence and contribution to the ALS Walk for Life. | Photo submitted
A team of about 180 Barrington area residents came close to breaking a record Sept. 22, when they raised nearly $78,000 at the ALS Walk for Life. | Photo submitted
The Barrington team, known as the Iron Horse Brigade in honor of North Barrington resident Paul Launder, raised about $38,000. A  $40,000 match from the Foglia Family Foundation boosted the Barrington total to $38,000.  | Photo submitted
Many children from North Barrington Elementary, where the Kris and Paul Launer’s two daughters attend, participated in the walk. Principal Diane Wood also participated. | Photo submitted

A team of about 180 Barrington area residents came close to breaking a record Sept. 22, when they raised nearly $78,000 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and patient care at the ALS Walk for Life.

The walk, which benefitted the Les Turner ALS Foundation of Chicago, included a walk along Chicago’s lakefront near Soldier Field ending at the Shedd Aquarium.

The $78,000 Barrington contribution included a match from the Foglia Family Foundation of $40,000. The Barrington team, known as the Iron Horse Brigade in honor of North Barrington resident Paul Launder, raised about $38,000.

“According to the Les Turner Foundation, that was probably the second largest total ever,” said Sue Randall, Barrington resident and team captain.

Randall said the fundraising record was set by a team in 2005.

The Iron Horse Brigade raised more money than any other team at the ALS Walk for Life, which included about 200 teams from across the Chicago area.

“To wind up as No. 1 is huge,” she said.

Barrington resident Bob Lee, whose Ride for Three Reasons raises money for ALS research every year, said the Barrington team was so big they needed two buses and addition cars to get to Chicago for the event.

“It was the largest team, a sea of blue with everyone wearing the same T-shirts,” Lee said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done as a community. It’s very uplifting to see that many people coming together. The Foglia family match really created a lot of enthusiasm.”

Lee said the walk brought together families and children to support several individuals in various stages of ALS, a progressive disease which affects nerve cells and causes patients to lose control of muscle movement.

“You get exposed to the disease and what it does,” Lee said of the walk.

Kris and Paul Launer said they were very proud of the Barrington team.

Paul, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, was the commander in chief of the Iron Horse Brigade.

“Paul was grinning ear to ear,” she said.

Many children from North Barrington Elementary, where the Launer’s two daughters attend, participated in the walk. Principal Diane Wood also participated.

“It was great seeing so many families bring their young children,” Randall said. “It was really a perfect day for this walk.”

“The weather couldn’t have been prettier,” Lee agreed. “It was really a phenomenal day.”

With the Barrington boost, about 6,000 participants raised $750,000, with half going toward ALS research and the other half funding patient care.

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