ALS Ride for Life Stops at Marion Street

ALS Ride for Life Stops at Marion Street Photo

In what is turning out to be an annual tradition, Chris Pendergast made a special stop at Marion Street School on May 31 as part of his 20th annual Ride for Life ALS fundraising event. Pendergast was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1993. For the past 20 years, he has participated in Ride for Life to raise awareness and funds to fight this rare neurological disease. This year he plans to ride his motorized wheelchair all the way to Washington, D.C.

Students formed a lasting bond with Pendergast when he visited their school last year for a special assembly. On that day, he encouraged them to believe that one person can make a difference. After his moving presentation, Principal Theresa Macchia reached out to him requesting that their school be a stop on his ride, and he gladly agreed. This year he was happy to return to the school, where students offered their encouragement with handmade banners and signs. 

After fundraising all year, students presented Pendergast with a check for $4,500, which will be used for ALS research. They sold bracelets, participated in a mannequin challenge, a pajama day, a ball game fundraiser and, of course, an ice bucket challenge.

“We have travelled all over Long Island but we can’t remember a school as wonderful as Marion Street,” said Barbara Brown, school outreach coordinator for the ALS Ride for Life. 

“Thank you for your smiles,” added Paul Weisman, who also has ALS and is making the trek with Pendergast. “Never give up, never lose hope, always remain optimistic, and no matter what, be willing to defy the odds.”