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Good afternoon;

Recently I was speaking with a good friend who is on the Board of The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research.   We chatted, as a friend has recently contracted this deadly disease and I wanted to know more about ALS and possible cures.  Our discussion was enlightening and after the call I decided to reach out to my network to solicit your potential support.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s disease, is a fatal rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movements. Eventually, a person with ALS cannot move limbs, eat, speak, or breathe, which ultimately leads to death. Every 4 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS and another dies from the disease. The average life span from diagnosis is two to five years and there is no cure. Nearly 9 out of 10 cases of ALS are sporadic (no known family history of the disease) and 1 out of 10 are familial.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2040, neurodegenerative diseases (including ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease) will overtake cancer as the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. This is within our lifetime.

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins (Packard Center) has been at the forefront of ALS research for 21 years. Its researchers have made contributions to the field of ALS research leading to one of the two current FDA-approved drugs (Riluzole), and significant contributions to the development of two additional drugs currently in clinical trials for the treatment of familial forms of ALS. In addition, any research benefitting studies of other neurodegenerative diseases is shared.

The unique model of the Packard Center:

  • Charges its Scientific Advisory Board with identifying the best and brightest investigators around the world (70% of its researchers are not at Johns Hopkins) conducting the most cutting-edge research that will push the science forward, inviting them to apply
  • Employs a rapid-funding process to support novel ideas and lines of inquiry 
  • Requires its researchers to present their unpublished data at monthly Principal Investigators meetings to receive feedback – challenging, questioning, supporting – from others in the Packard Center cohort. Packard Center researchers collaborate, and share resources and current data.
  • Holds a yearly closed ALS Research Symposium – the premier ALS research event in the world – this year hosting 517 registrants from 7 countries, 23 states, and 115 institutions for 46 speakers and 25 posters over 17 zoom hours 

Another aspect of the Packard Center that is allowing researchers to take the next steps in understanding and treating this dreadful disease is its unprecedented program, Answer ALSAnswer ALS is producing the largest and most comprehensive foundation of integrated ALS data ever amassed and is utilizing big data and artificial intelligence to identify targeted pathways to fight ALS. 

Together, we can make a difference in the fight against ALS and other neurogenerative diseases by supporting Packard Center research. How can you help? Join me in making a contribution. Gifts of any amount make a difference. To provide some guidance:

  • The Packard Center is fully funded through philanthropy
  • Gifts of any size directly support Packard Center research
  • Packard Center researchers are currently funded at $50,000/yr 
  • The Packard Center seeks sponsorships for its Annual ALS Research Symposium 
  • Gifts to the Packard Center endowment help secure a revenue stream for future ALS and neurogenerative research

In addition, you may:

Thank you for your consideration and for your potential support/interest in joining the fight against ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. For any and all questions (about the science, giving, ways to participate), please contact Meg Whiteford and tell her I sent you:

Meg B. Whiteford, JD

Associate Director of Development

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research

mwhiteford@jhmi.edu

(410) 955-8684 (office)

(410) 614-0659 (fax)

www.packardcenter.org

Make an online gift here 

Best,

Steve Gerbsman

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Where were you on September 11, 2001????

Most will never forget and the memory of what happened that day MUST be passed on to generations.  Please, Please review with you children and grandchildren.  This is our history and it will not be re-written.

I remember receiving a call from our son at about 6:10 AM California time.  He was serving in the military in Israel and told us to turn on the TV.  With shock and dismay my wife and i watched the challenges of the next hours.

Among the things I will never forget are the faces of the men and woman of the NY Fire Department and NYPD walking up the stairs in the World Trade Center.  The look on their faces told the whole story.  They knew they were “going into Harms Way” and yet they marched on.

These are the “True Heroes”.  The Firefighter’s, the Police, the Medic’s and all the First Responders.  They all have one objective “to Serve & Protect”.

As a Director of a Fire District in California, I see every day their bravery, commitment and focus.

Please see a Firefighter’s Prayer below:

Firefighter’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage,

give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age.

Help me to embrace a little child before it’s too late,

or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout,

and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,

to guard my neighbor and protect his property.

And if according to your will I have to lose my life,

bless with your protecting hand my loving family from strife. Amen

Sent by :

Mark Pomi

Fire Chief

Kentfield Fire Protection District

9-11 Sounds of Silence Tribute by Steve A.

Please click on this link – remember, share and never, ever, ever, ever forget.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iy2L9VeUfc

Also, with respect and honor to all and especially our First Responders..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ4yrMm6cSU

Lastly, again please tell the story of our history to your children.  We “must never forget”.

With respect

Steve Gerbsman

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Good afternoon;

Recently I was speaking with a good friend who is on the Board of The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research.   We chatted, as a friend has recently contracted this deadly disease and I wanted to know more about ALS and possible cures.  Our discussion was enlightening and after the call I decided to reach out to my network to solicit your potential support.
 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s disease, is a fatal rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movements. Eventually, a person with ALS cannot move limbs, eat, speak, or breathe, which ultimately leads to death. Every 4 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS and another dies from the disease. The average life span from diagnosis is two to five years and there is no cure. Nearly 9 out of 10 cases of ALS are sporadic (no known family history of the disease) and 1 out of 10 are familial.

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2040, neurodegenerative diseases (including ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease) will overtake cancer as the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. This is within our lifetime.

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins (Packard Center) has been at the forefront of ALS research for 21 years. Its researchers have made contributions to the field of ALS research leading to one of the two current FDA-approved drugs (Riluzole), and significant contributions to the development of two additional drugs currently in clinical trials for the treatment of familial forms of ALS. In addition, any research benefitting studies of other neurodegenerative diseases is shared.

The unique model of the Packard Center:

  • Charges its Scientific Advisory Board with identifying the best and brightest investigators around the world (70% of its researchers are not at Johns Hopkins) conducting the most cutting-edge research that will push the science forward, inviting them to apply
  • Employs a rapid-funding process to support novel ideas and lines of inquiry 
  • Requires its researchers to present their unpublished data at monthly Principal Investigators meetings to receive feedback – challenging, questioning, supporting – from others in the Packard Center cohort. Packard Center researchers collaborate, and share resources and current data.
  • Holds a yearly closed ALS Research Symposium – the premier ALS research event in the world – this year hosting 517 registrants from 7 countries, 23 states, and 115 institutions for 46 speakers and 25 posters over 17 zoom hours 

Another aspect of the Packard Center that is allowing researchers to take the next steps in understanding and treating this dreadful disease is its unprecedented program, Answer ALSAnswer ALS is producing the largest and most comprehensive foundation of integrated ALS data ever amassed and is utilizing big data and artificial intelligence to identify targeted pathways to fight ALS. 

Together, we can make a difference in the fight against ALS and other neurogenerative diseases by supporting Packard Center research. How can you help? Join me in making a contribution. Gifts of any amount make a difference. To provide some guidance:

  • The Packard Center is fully funded through philanthropy
  • Gifts of any size directly support Packard Center research
  • Packard Center researchers are currently funded at $50,000/yr 
  • The Packard Center seeks sponsorships for its Annual ALS Research Symposium 
  • Gifts to the Packard Center endowment help secure a revenue stream for future ALS and neurogenerative research

In addition, you may:

Thank you for your consideration and for your potential support/interest in joining the fight against ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. For any and all questions (about the science, giving, ways to participate), please contact Meg Whiteford and tell her I sent you:

Meg B. Whiteford, JD

Associate Director of Development

The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research

mwhiteford@jhmi.edu

(410) 955-8684 (office)

(410) 614-0659 (fax)

www.packardcenter.org

Make an online gift here 

Best,

Steve Gerbsman

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By Frank Schaeffer 

The Washington Post

August 23, 2021

Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me.  Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way.  John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms.  I did not.  I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. 

I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling.  I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, “So where is John going to college?” from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard.  At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.“But aren’t the Marines terribly Southern?” (Says a lot about open-mindedness in the Northeast) asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation.  “What a waste, he was such a good student,” said another parent.  One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should, “carefully evaluate what went wrong.”

When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands.  We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus.  John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.We in the audience were white and Native American.  We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles’ names.  We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos.  We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John’s private school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marines told John, “Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would’ve probably killed you just because you were standing there.” This was a serious statement from one of John’s good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, “would die for me now, just like I’d die for him.”

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before.  I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends.  She has two sons in the Corps.  They are facing the same dangers as my boy.  When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it.  His younger brother is in the Navy.Why were I and the other parents at my son’s private school so surprised by his choice?

  During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit.  If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists?  Is the world a safe place?  Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?  What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm’s way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shame because it took my son’s joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me.  I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future “greatest generation.”  As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye.  My son is one of them.  He is the best I have to offer.  John is my heart.

Faith is not about everything turning out OK.  Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.Oh, how I wish so many of our younger generations could read this article.  It makes me so sad to hear the way they talk with no respect for what their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers  experienced so they can live in freedom.

 

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A Nice Bit Of History

Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two. 

Here are the facts; The link at the bottom will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of “God Bless America. ” But before you watch it you should know the story behind the first public showing of the song. 

The time was 1940 America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans. 

This was the era just before TV when radio shows were HUGE and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.

Kate was also large; plus size as we now say and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her; “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” 

Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time. 

Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer Irving Berlin (who also wrote White Christmas) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written but never published, 22 years before – in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song. 

This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, You’re In The Army Now. At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it’s Ronald Reagan. You will recognize other old stars but have forgotten their names. You may remember George Murphy near the end, though . 

To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry… and for many generations of Americans to follow. 

Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Many people don’t know there’s a lead in to the song since it usually starts with God Bless America … So here’s the entire song as originally sung. Enjoy it! Click below:

Kate Smith introduces God Bless America – YouTube

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