Volume 95, Issue 16

Thursday, September 27, 2001
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Western tested World Trade Center

Homers come home for Homecoming

Rez chaos: Outcasts still waiting for rooms

'Forgotten purple' find home with USC

Art gallery reverses decision on Arab art

Five million reasons to cure ALS

Cigarette companies choke on label dispute

Five million reasons to cure ALS

By Adam Stewart
Gazette Staff

Funding for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, got a major boost Tuesday with the announcement that over $5 million will be donated to research here in London.

"ALS needs a kick start for research funding," said Michael Halls, the donor of the money, who also has ALS.

"[It] is a disease that doesn't get much in the way of funding. I definitely think they will find something that will slow the disease," Halls said. He said he believes a lack of public knowledge about the disease is the reason for the lack of funding for research into it.

Halls said this donation is important to him because he was diagnosed with the disease in 1997, though he suspects he has had it since 1993 when he first noticed symptoms.

"It is a very positive step forward for ALS research," said Peter Kryworuk, chairperson of the London Health Sciences Foundation.

Kryworuk noted the donation, the largest by an individual to a hospital foundation in Canada, will be used to hire more researchers and graduate students to study the disease.

"It's going to get the actual people to do the actual work," he said.

Theresa Gebrail, director of communications for the London Health Sciences Foundation said there are small pockets of researchers throughout Canada conducting ALS research, but until now there has not been an opportunity for researchers to meet in person and share ideas.

She said the money will allow more researchers to work together and discuss their work.

Gebrail added the money will create the Michael Halls Centre for ALS Research at the London Health Sciences Centre and added to the endowment fund for the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS research.

"It will make a tremendous difference," said Susan Graham Walker, director of communications for the ALS Society of Canada.

Walker said the donation will attract creative minds to ALS research, adding more research is needed to determine the cause of the disease, develop treatments and eventually eradicate the disease.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001