The Bright Side Story
About ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.
The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look 'thinner' as muscle tissue atrophies.
Although the cause of ALS is not completely understood, the recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of this disease. There is not a cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS.
Bright Side of the Road Foundation
Barry Winovich, along with his family and his friends, founded the Bright Side of the Road Foundation in 2006 soon after Barry's diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease.'
The foundation's goal was to assemble a collective of energy and resources for organizing events that raise funds for ALS research.
The Bright Side of the Road Foundation has been recognized by the IRS as a Charitable Organization and donations qualify for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Bright Side?s federal tax identification number is 20-5136953.
Our Mission is to:
- Make grants to support activities and projects relating to the causes, prevention, treatment and cure for ALS such as specific research, drug trials and other medical and/or scientific programs identified as relevant.
- Also, we want to support other organizations whose purpose is to raise awareness, educate patients, families, caregivers and the general public about ALS.
After the Foundation's first few months, the Bright Side Board of Directors decided that an effective way to support ALS research would be to remove financial barriers to new and innovative research at institutions and organizations extremely well positioned to make an impact in the lives of ALS patients and their families.
To achieve this, the Bright Side of the Road Foundation created the Barry Winovich Endowed Chair for ALS Research with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation a dedicated fund established through a philanthropic commitment.
Bright Side also supports scientific initiatives by organizations like ALS Worldwide to expand access to important research drugs by ALS patients.
The Barry Winovich Endowed Chair for ALS Research at The Lerner Research Institute of The Cleveland Clinic.
In June 2007, a formal endowment fund was established that focuses research on the cause, therapies and cure for ALS at the Lerner Research Institute (LRI) of The Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic was selected for two main reasons.
- The LRI is recognized as a global leader in neuroscience research (#1 in Ohio and #5 in the nation)
- Dr. Erik Pioro The Cleveland Clinics Director of ALS and Related Disorders, is one of the preeminent leaders in the international ALS research community.
With your support, over $1,500,000 has been donated to the Lerner Research Institute. This is an in perpetuity research fund where the assets are managed by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.