On September 22, Bob Simonds, Gamma Zeta ’47 led thousands of walkers along the Chicago lakefront as the family chairman for this year’s Les Turner Foundation ALS Walk4Life. The 2013 event has raised over $700,000 for ALS research and it was Bob and his team that led the way from the very start. Bob’s team was the #1 team with over $54,000 raised and Bob was the #1 individual fundraiser at over $36,000 raised alone. Within those numbers are over $10,000 from Gamma Zeta undergrads from their Mom’s Day event last spring and over $10,000 from Gamma Zeta Alumni and the event last weekend at the Soldier Field Illini vs. Washington football game.
ATO’s Andy Daniels ’77 from Tulane, Dane Luhrsen ’77, John Aymond ’80 and John Luhrsen ’10 and their families joined Bob and his family at the walk. Prior to the start of the walk, Bob’s son RJ, on behalf of Bob read the following speech to the several thousand ALS fighters and their families and supporters. (THANKS FOR THE SHOUT OUT BOB!!) Note that when RJ read the comment about the Gamma Zeta undergrads raising over $10K, they got a huge round of applause from the crowd. It’s not too late, you can still make a donation at: http://alswalk4life.org/gammazeta
Since ALS has robbed me of my voice, my brief remarks will be delivered by my No. 4 son, Dr. Robert J. Simonds, Jr.
When I agreed to serve as Family Chair for the 2013 ALS Walk4Life, I had no way of knowing what lay ahead for me. Looking back, I must say that it has proved to be one of my most rewarding experiences.
The work I’ve been privileged to do on behalf of the ALS Foundation and the people I’ve met in the process have reminded me of my long-held philosophy that nothing can compare with the magic that happens when good people come together to work for a worthwhile cause.
To illustrate my point, just look around us here at Soldier Field.
The success of my team in the Walk owes much to many. I always felt the support and encouragement of the Foundation. My ample family readily and generously responded to calls from its patriarch.
Friends, neighbors, business associates — all were prospects.
I owe special thanks to my Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers. A week ago the alumni staged a benefit football game here at Soldier Field. Undergraduates in Urbana gave $10,000+, proceeds from a philanthropy they created to support Walk4Life.
On my wall at home is a framed photograph of Lou Gehrig, for whom “our” disease is named. It shows him at the microphone in Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. He is making his famous farewell address:
“Today I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth…”
I often look at the photo. It reminds me to be grateful for my many blessings — and not to whine about my fate.
Let’s be stalwart soldiers in the growing army fighting ALS.