The M.C. Knoll Knights basketball teams are proof that the next generation is every bit as kind hearted as generations of the past.
The M.C. Knoll Knights, as well as basketball coach Mark Schendel, have launched yet another campaign to raise awareness and money for a deadly disease.
This time the Knights have chosen to combat ALS.
"This year we are raising awareness for ALS, a disease better known as Lou Gehrig Disease," said Schendel, the person who spearheaded this campaign at M.C. Knoll. "Last year we did a campaign for Breast Cancer where our boys and girls basketball teams raised $3200.00 just by selling pink t-shirts.
"The previous years before we've done a shoot-a-thon with both teams for the SPCA where we raised 700 dollars and the year before that we raised 700 dollars for Telemiracle."
ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
It affects the ability to walk, as well as the ability to speak and can lead to the patient being completely paralyzed before death.
The way the Knights are combatting ALS is simple. They are wearing t-shirt during warm ups at every one of their games in order to passively raise awareness about the deadly disease.
But why did they choose ALS as the benefactor of their awareness campaign?
Schendel, the M.C. Knoll boys basketball coach, feels that it was simply something that was supposed to happen. "I was at my home watching the NFL Network as I always do and they had the Steve Gleason story on there," said Schendel. "My wife came in halfway through the program and I had tears in my eyes because it was really an emotional story."
For those that don't know, Steve Gleason was an NFL player for the New Orleans Saints who was diagnosed with ALS in January of 2011. Instead of simply accepting his fate, Gleason instead set up the Gleason Initiative Foundation, based in Louisiana, which helps provide individuals diagnosed with ALS access to leading edge technology to battle their disease.
It also helps to raise awareness for the disease, something that Schendel and the Knights felt they could help out with. "Talking with the foundation down in Louisiana we explained to them what we wanted to do with our basketball program and they've been so supportive since day one by providing us with the t-shirts," offered Schendel. "The money we paid for these t-shirts will go towards the cause as well and it's just to create awareness for ALS and help those people that, unfortunately, do have Lou Gehrig's Disease."
Schendel also believes that the kids are 100% behind raising awareness to ALS. "It just shows the maturity of our kids and the compassion of the kids on the basketball team," said a proud Schendel. "These kids are mature beyond their years and it's great to see them embrace this campaign the way they have."