Benefit for ALS in Menlo Park raises $1 million
In 2014, Menlo Park resident Nancy Sallaberry was playing tennis almost daily, as you might expect from someone whose teams at both Ladera Oaks and Sharon Heights had advanced to the USTA Nationals.
Then, Nancy realized something was a bit off. She felt clumsy on the court. Doctors initially suspected she might have a pinched nerve causing a slight foot drop.
Soon, a series of tests revealed that Nancy in fact had joined 6,000 Americans diagnosed each year with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Nancy and her husband Paul, a Silicon Valley executive and investor, were well acquainted with ALS. Their good friend Augie Nieto, the founder of Life Fitness, had been diagnosed in 2005 and had become a passionate advocate for research for a cure.
Last Saturday (April 21), four years later, Nancy and Paul, Augie and Lynne Nieto, Menlo Park’s Barbara Siegal (owner of Gourmet Franks in Stanford Shopping Center), and several other individuals living with ALS, joined several hundred friends and family at Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club for a sold-out benefit evening to support research into this devastating neurological disease.
The evening was a fundraiser for the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which is a tireless advocate and research organization driving treatments. Paul explained that TDI attacks this problem the same way Silicon Valley always attacks problems: head-on, with close management, and with passion and focus.
It was an evening of friendship, education, a few tears, but also some laughs when the furry mascot Lou Seal of Nancy’s beloved San Francisco Giants arrived to join the Forte tenors in singing “I Left My heart in San Francisco.”
The event raised nearly a million dollars to support ALS research. It also drove home how challenges like ALS remind us how precious – and powerful – the support of family and friends can be.
“ALS is not an incurable disease, just underfunded,” according to Augie Nieto. More information and how to support this important work is available online.