Every ninety minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with ALS, and every ninety minutes, another person will lose their battle against this disease. Each year, more than 140,000 patients, men, women, children, and corporations join together as The ALS Association Florida Chapter hosts the Walk to Defeat ALS.
The Walk to Defeat ALS is The ALS Association’s biggest annual event, which raises funds to sustain patient care and support cutting-edge research by the world’s best and brightest scientists. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS.
The mission of The ALS Association is to find a cure for and improve living with ALS. They provide help and hope to patients and families impacted by the disease by funding research, patient and community services, public education, and advocacy efforts on a local and national level. The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis. Caring for a loved one with ALS costs an average of $200,000 each year.
“I was truly touched by the number of friends, family and clients that knew someone who had been affected by this disease and shared a personal story with me. It was wonderful to share this experience with my daughter, Ellee, so that she could see what a difference so many people were making in our community by coming together for such a great cause,” said Jamie Harden, President & CEO of Creative Sign Designs.
The ALS Association consists of forty-one chapters throughout the United States. The Florida Chapter hosts seven walks (all under 3 miles) throughout March and April in South Florida, Greater Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota/Manatee, and Fort Myers. The 2-mile Greater Tampa Bay Walk had 89 teams and 1,224 walkers.
Over thirty Creative Sign Designs employees participated in the walk and helped raise over $7,000 in donations for the association’s Equipment Loan, Respite Care, Patient Care Management, and Augmentative Communications programs. Team Creative was the #5 team and Creative President & CEO Jamie Harden was the #7 walker (having raised over $4,000). As of March 28, the Greater Tampa Bay Walk fundraising totaled over $220,000.
In addition to their fundraising efforts, Creative Sign Designs donated over seventy signs for the events in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Palm Beach. Creative employees have contributed to numerous organizations including: Morton Plant Mease, Resurrection House, Baycare HealthCare System, Berkeley Preparatory School, Morean Arts Center, YMCA of the Suncoast, Angels After Dark, Habitat for Humanity, St. Petersburg History Museum, American Heart Association, All Children’s Hospital, and Meals on Wheels.
Most recently, Creative employees devoted 161 hours over 24 shifts in two days through Habitat for Humanity’s Blitz Build in Clearwater just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Creative Sign Designs is committed to providing environmentally-friendly signs, and was recently awarded the 2011 Earth Charter US Sustainable Business Award for focusing their efforts on People (Employee and Community Wellbeing), Profit (Economic Performance) and Planet (Environmental Health).
Additionally, employees are involved in community activities such as the CEO Council of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Professional Alliance, Florida Health Care Engineering Association, Florida Apartment Association, International Sign Association, Junior League of Tampa, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay & Co., CREW, American Marketing Association, CFHLA, and the Westshore Alliance.
For more information about Creative Sign Designs, call 813/818-7100 or visit www.CreativeSignDesigns.com.
More photos from the event: