WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. – The Webster Groves community showed up in full force Saturday morning for the 22nd annual Jim Schoemehl ALS run, raising $15,000 for one local ALS patient.
For more than two decades, students from a Webster Groves High School marketing class have organized the event. It serves a dual purpose of education and service.
“They’re learning how to put on an event, how to market and promote on an event, but it also means a lot to our community because Jim Schoemehl was the husband of the former marketing teacher here,” said Webster Groves Marketing Teacher, Katie Laurentius. “The run was created by students to help their teacher out, and it’s just continued out.”
This year, the run will help local resident, Djenad Novalic, who immigrated from Bosnia with his family in 2001, the first year of the run. Novalic has also been diagnosed with ALS.
Organizers raised more than $15,000 in support of Novalic prior to the run, and that number is expected to grow.
“It’s actually going to someone [with ALS], you meet his family, and I think that really helps motivate people to raise more money,” said Webster Groves High School student Ellie Nakatani. “It’s just a personal connection, and it’s just nice to know that this is exactly who we’re helping and just have that gratification.”
More than 300 people signed up to run a 5K or 10K. Starting at the school, runners of all ages ran to raise money for ALS.
“I think it says a lot about the giving nature of this town, living here and such, to see a lot of good people around,” said runner Greg Dunn.
Crossing the finish line, there’s plenty of relief and joy. Those miles turn into tangible help for a new local ALS patient each year.
Julia Ringkamt is a Webster Groves alumna. Her dad was diagnosed her senior year and also a former recipient. She’s participated and helped with the race ever since.
“It helped us as a family pay for medical bills to get a ramp put in the back of the house, and it helped him get a wheelchair once he needed that,” said Ringkamt, “I just think that’s so special and important.”
For more information on the Jim Schoemehl ALS run, click here.