Cambridge, MA and Yakima, WA — “Ales for ALSTM,” a philanthropic program benefitting the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), enters its 8th year of brewing, joining brewers from around the world to help support ALS research. Spearheaded by Mike Smith and Cheryl Hanses Smith of Yakima, WA, “Ales for ALS” provides brewers a unique, proprietary hops blend free of charge in exchange for a portion of beer sales donated to ALS TDI, the world’s foremost drug discovery lab focused solely on finding treatments and cures for ALS.
The program was inspired from Cheryl Hanses Smith’s family history with familial ALS (fALS) – when ALS is passed down through generations. Familial ALS (fALS) accounts for about 10% of all cases of ALS which currently has no effective treatments or cures. In just over 30 years, seven members of the Hanses family have lost the battle to this devastating disease, and Cheryl’s brother is nearing the end of his long battle with ALS. Additionally, several Hanses family members have been tested for the fALS gene and live with the knowledge that they might become symptomatic at any time and could have passed on this gene to their children. Cheryl and her husband Mike, a third-generation hops farmer, decided that they wanted to do something to help end ALS. By supporting ALS research at ALS TDI, they aimed to break the cycle in Cheryl’s family and positively impact the pace of ALS research in a significant way.
“I had to do something,” Cheryl Hanses Smith said. “My cousins and I have watched our parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings battle this disease for so many years. When my brother, Scott, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, Mike and I, and our three children, felt compelled to do something. ‘Ales for ALS’ was created out of our desperate need to help Scott, so we asked our friends in the brewing industry if they would join us in raising money to find a treatment or cure for this terrible disease. The Hanses family wants not to be remembered for what ALS has done to our family, but for what our family has done to find a cure for ALS.”
Starting with 33 participating brewers and $130,000 raised in the first year in 2013, the program has now grown to nearly 200 participating brewers who have raised $3 million to date. Cheryl Hanses Smith and Mike Smith look to brewers around the world to join the fight with “Ales for ALS” and hope to bring the program to 300 brewers with participation in all 50 states.
“With gratitude we thank the Hanses and Smith families for their continued contribution in helping to support research at ALS TDI through the ‘Ales for ALS’ program,” said Steven Perrin, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the ALS Therapy Development Institute. “This program has created a movement within the brewing community that allows people to truly help impact change. ALS is not an incurable disease – it is an underfunded one.”
To learn how to become a part of the “Ales for ALS” program or to visit a participating brewery, visit a4a.als.net.
About the ALS Therapy Development Institute
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) and its researchers discover and develop potential treatments for ALS. It is the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by drug development experts and people with ALS, ALS TDI understands the urgent need to slow and stop this disease.
Based in Cambridge, MA, ALS TDI has more than 30 full-time, industry trained, drug development experts on staff. ALS TDI is internationally recognized as a leader in preclinical and translational ALS research, and partners with pharmaceutical companies and biotech organization1s all around the world. Rated a four-star nonprofit on Charity Navigator, ALS TDI spends 87 cents of every dollar raised on finding effective treatments and cures for ALS. Visit www.als.net for more information.