AUBURN, Mass. â€œ More than 1,000 people participated in the second annual Walk for Living on Sunday, including the team from Herb Chambers of Auburn that raised more than $6,000 to help people with ALS and MS.
The walk on Oct. 14 in Chelsea, presented by the Herb Chambers Companies, raised nearly $370,000 for people living with ALS and MS. The Herb Chambers Companies raised $57,000.
“It always means a lot to help others that are less fortunate,” said Dan Bortolussi, general manager of Herb Chambers Hyundai of Auburn and Herb Chambers Toyota of Auburn. Â “ALS is a very debilitating disease, and raising this money helps these folks live a more comfortable life.”
The two-mile walk raised funds for the Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s various programs and entities, which includes the award-winning Leonard Florence Center for Living. This center features the nation’s first and only specialized ALS/MS residences.
Bortolussi, who was a team leader for the walk, said “the facility allows people who suffer from those conditions to live as normal of a life as they can.”
“It’s a place where they can feel good about themselves,”Â Bortolussi said. “That’s not easy to do with ALS.”Â
According to the Leonard Florence Center for Living website, “the facility is a state-of-the-art, six-story, 100-bed, skilled nursing home that embodies the many comforts, design, and ambiance of one’s personal home.”
According to the website, “The center, which overlooks the scenic Boston Harbor, consists of ten 7,000-square-foot condo-style Green Houses with each home containing ten private bedrooms complete with bath and shower, arranged around a dining area, open kitchen and common living room where residents may relax and develop a sense of community.”
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a disease in which nerve cells waste away or die and can no longer send messages to muscles. This eventually leads to muscle weakening, twitching and an inability to move arms, legs and the rest of the body. The condition gradually gets worse. When muscles in the chest area stop working, it becomes hard or impossible to breathe on one’s own. Â ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Â Gehrig was a New York Yankees slugger in the 1920s and ’30s before his career was cut short due to ALS.
MS (multiple sclerosis) is caused by damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve signals slow down or stop. The condition leads to problems moving, loss of balance, muscle spasms, weakness, and tremors, among other symptoms.
WCVB Channel 5 anchor Susan Wornick was the event emcee. Herb Chambers, CEO of the Herb Chambers Companies; and Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, also attended the walk. Chambers personally donated $100,000