Photo Credits: KATHERINE FRANKS / AGGIE
Funds raised for ALS Walk-A-Thon
A benefit dinner, featuring homemade food and music, will be held at Dunloe Brewery in Davis on Oct. 5 for the Walk to Defeat ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Among the attendees of the benefit dinner will be Cathy Speck, who has ALS. Her condition inspired her to become captain of her own team, The SPECKtaculars, to participate in the walk. The benefit dinner will contribute 20% of all beer sales and Dunloe merchandise to this movement. The dinner and the walk are both meant to help those who suffer from ALS and their families.
Speck was diagnosed with ALS after caring for her mother and brothers as they battled the disease. She lost her mother and her brothers to ALS before she received her own diagnosis.
“It’s devastating to watch a loved one go through it,” Speck said. “The average lifespan of a person with ALS is three to five years after diagnosis. I am an exception — being on my tenth year with the diagnosis. There is currently no cure or treatment for ALS.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. The minds of those with the disease stay intact, yet the body is affected.
Speck was diagnosed with ALS 10 years ago, and she dealt with the disease on top of cancer.
“I am the fifth member of my family to have ALS — more than 90% of ALS cases are hereditary,” Speck said. “We have a very rare genetic mutation. I also have metastatic [or] incurable neuroendocrine endocrine cancer, so I fill each day with as much joy as I possibly can.”
While Speck has been battling the disease, she still remains optimistic.
“I chose to have a positive attitude,” Speck said. “I know every day is a gift — that I am blessed to still be able to talk. I have a choice to be depressed or positive. I decided to be positive because I want to feel happy.”
Brennan Fleming, the owner of Dunloe Brewery, is also Speck’s close friend. The brewery opened in 2017 and has hosted many fundraising events.
“I met Cathy when I was a kid, and she was working at the Co-op,” Brennan Fleming said via email. “My mom has stayed close to her over the years, and that’s how we got into the ALS fundraising stuff. My mom has been doing the walk for as long as I can remember.”
Maguritie Fleming, Brennan Fleming’s mother, helps with the ALS fundraising by organizing the food and events. She described Speck’s energy when they first met, which prompted her to become interested in ALS awareness.
“I met Cathy thirty years ago at the Davis Co-op, where she was working,” Maguritie Fleming said. “She would play with my kids while we were in line.”
The proceeds of the dinner will go towards the ALS Walk-A-Thon, which is also held on Oct. 5 at Raley Field in West Sacramento. The walk is a fundraiser for The ALS Association Greater Sacramento Chapter (ALSSAC). The ALSSAC is an organization that provides care and support for those who are suffering from ALS and their families throughout the region, including the City of Davis.
Written by: Taylor Martinez — firstname.lastname@example.org