“Strike Out! ALS,” an annual gala to benefit the ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter, drew more than 425 guests to a sold-out event at the Global Center for Health Innovation.

The theme of this year’s gala, “Rouge et Noir,” celebrated the French connection to ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was discovered in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Benefit guests were encouraged to wear the official ALS Association colors of red and black while enjoying cocktails, a seated dinner and silent auction. Monica Robins, WKYC senior health correspondent, served as mistress of ceremonies. Her band, The Whiskey Kings, provided the evening’s entertainment. The program included the presentation of the Iron Horse Award to Sandy Alomar Jr., the Bob Feller Legacy Award to the Mawaka family, and The DeGrandis Family Award to Cynthia Amerine posthumously.

The ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter was founded in 1998 by a group of volunteers to assist people with the progressive neurodegenerative disorder. ALS is the most common motor neuron disorder among adults. Its cause is unknown and, as yet, there is no known cure. The ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter serves about 350 clients and their families across 33 counties of Northern Ohio. It is one of 40 chapters across the country under the umbrella of The ALS Association. The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit health organization dedicated to the fight against ALS through patient and community services, research, public education and patient advocacy. STORY BY CYNTHIA SCHUSTER EAKIN/PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC EAKIN

Scott, Julie, Fran and Ron Mawaka

ALS Association
Northern Ohio Chapter
“Strike Out! ALS”

Alyssa Pazdan, Moose O’Regan and Mary Jo O’Regan

Lisa Bruening with Kris and Paul Vogel

Fred DeGrandis, Donna Sheridan and Joseph Dowling