Contact:
Carrie Munk
The ALS Association
(571) 319-3047
cmunk@alsa-national.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The ALS Association Honors Wisconsin Man Living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease for His ALS Awareness Efforts and Altruism with the Lawrence A. Rand Prize

Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2013) – Last month, The ALS Association honored Waukesha, Wis., resident Jim Eutizzi with its Lawrence A. Rand Prize. The Prize “recognizes the courage, passion, integrity and commitment of those serving the ALS community as volunteers, healthcare professionals, educators/communicators or in other ways contributing to the quality of life of people living with ALS.”

ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease robs people of the ability to walk, to talk and even blink an eye. It traps them inside a body they no longer can control and ultimately prevents them from breathing as it takes their life. There is no known cause of the disease, although military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population.

Eutizzi, a retired salesman, was diagnosed with ALS in 2007 at the age of 44. His unflagging determination to spread ALS awareness to his fellow citizens in Wisconsin and his willingness to help others with the disease exemplify the reasons he is being honored with the esteemed prize.

In her nomination letter endorsing him for the Rand Prize, Wisconsin Chapter Executive Director Melanie Roach-Bekos cites Eutizzi’s warmth, optimism and humor, which “serve to inspire and comfort.” “Rather than dwell on the limitations the disease has imposed, Jim chose to use his energy and enthusiasm to raise awareness and improve the quality of life for anyone affected by ALS,” said Roach-Bekos.

Since receiving his diagnosis, Eutizzi has spoken to middle and high school students in his home state about ALS in the hope that education will lead to compassion. He has also discussed the effects the disease has had on him by speaking at civic organizations’ meetings and events and has appeared on radio and television to promote ALS awareness.

Eutizzi has worked closely with the Wisconsin Chapter, including serving as a planning committee member for Walk to Defeat ALS® events. He has participated in the chapter’s Evening of Hope black tie fundraiser, where he served as keynote speaker and special guest. For the 2013 gala, Eutizzi interviewed retired football player Steve Gleason, who has lived with ALS since 2011, and Gleason’s wife Michel via Skype. In addition, he has played an instrumental role in creating “Chasin’ A Cure,” an annual Milwaukee Brewers baseball tailgate that connects Lou Gehrig’s legacy with the continuous search for a cure for the disease. 

Jim’s Journey with ALS,” Eutizzi’s blog, provides its readers with insight into the everyday challenges of coping with a debilitating disease as well as the daily questions parents ask themselves. Eutizzi infuses his posts with honesty, vulnerability and depth.

“Jim Eutizzi embodies the true spirit of the Rand Prize,” said Kimberly Maginnis, Chief Care Services Officer. “He has lived with Lou Gehrig’s Disease for six years, yet he remains dedicated to spreading awareness and enriching the lives of others with ALS.” 

The ALS Association established the Prize in honor of Lawrence A. Rand, a founding Trustee and a former National Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Association. Rand has tirelessly advocated on behalf of people and their families living with ALS. The disease has personally impacted him as it took the lives of his father-in-law, sister-in-law, and wife, Madelon.

Past recipients of the Rand Prize include Shonda Schilling, the wife of onetime Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling; NFL player Pete Duranko; and the internationally renowned neurologist Dr. Richard Olney, who died from ALS in 2012. The Association will present the award to Eutizzi during the 2014 Leadership Summit & Winter Walk Forum in San Diego, Calif.

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.

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