Innoplast is proud to support the ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter with a donation of 1% of sales for the month of May.
Everyone has a cause that is meaningful for them, and in honor of close friends, Barry Winovich and Treg Charlton, we started the 1% ALS campaign back in 2012. We hope our campaign helps raise awareness, and possibly inspire others to do what they can to support ALS research and care.
My friend and high-school classmate Barry Winovich was diagnosed with ALS in 2007. At the time our kids were playing youth hockey together, with several other good friends. It was a pretty tight group of people. We spent a lot of time together at early morning hockey practices, travel tournaments etc. Although we were all a little concerned about Barry’s apparent new challenge with his speech and some dexterity in his fingers, we had no idea what was coming. It took quite a while for the ultimate diagnosis to come through, and none of us had any first-hand experience with ALS. The first thing I did was Google “ALS”, only to find out the average life-expectancy was less than five years, and most patients die, essentially, of starvation or respiratory failure. We were in our early 40’s, feeling somewhat invincible, and I remember my wife and I just having a difficult time comprehending what had just happened.
Barry is not your average patient. He is still fighting ALS today, and for some it may be hard to understand his motivation. But he has seen his children graduate high school, and some through college. He has seen them become fine young adults. He founded the “Bright Side of the Road Foundation” which funded a research chair at The Cleveland Clinic. Barry is ferociously social, and keeps in touch with more people than anyone I know. Although you could say, “hey he’s got plenty of time on his hands”, it is still an amazing effort to continually reach out to people, to invite them to go out with him, visit, or for him to just ask how YOU are doing.
A few years later, his best friend, college roommate, and another high-school classmate of ours, Treg Charlton, was diagnosed with ALS. For the Charleton’s, who had been one of Barry’s primary supporters, care-givers, and closest friends, I can only imagine how they could digest the news. It was difficult, and impossible to believe, even for friends on the periphery, how this could be possible. Now we knew what ALS could do to someone, the infinite steps in their condition, and the gradual acceptance of help, a cane, a walker, a chair, etc. Treg is also not your average patient, and I believe with the support of his family, friends, and especially Barry, he finds a way to fight ALS every day. Not only that, but to this day, he is truly one of the funniest people I know.
So I guess as a patient, you fight ALS however you can, with friends and family around you, with humor, with fundraising, with music, whatever it takes. From the outside (as a non-patient) it’s hard to know what to do sometimes. In the face of such a challenge, just like my patient friends, I think the real answer is just to do anything you can. Whatever they ask. Whatever they need.
During the 1% campaign months, we do not “solicit” additional support from our customers, but we would not be able to launch and continue this campaign without their business partnership. We do hope that our campaign helps to raise awareness, and possibly inspire others to do what they can to support ALS research and care. If you are not sure what to do, or how to get involved, anyone here can help. Please call us, even if you just want to share your experience.