'Fiesta' fundraiser aims to fund an end to ALS disease

Posted at 10:12 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 14:26:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diegans gathered at Valley View Casino Wednesday to put an end to ALS disease.

The 3rd annual ALS Fiesta brought together people who have been personally affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and those seeking to help stop it from claiming more lives. The fundraising event at the North County casino hosted games, a silent auction, and a dinner where attendees heard from those touched closest by the disease.

Among those in attendance was former San Diego State Aztecs basketball coach Steve Fisher, whose son, Mark, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Mark worked alongside his father as a special assistant on the team.

For more information, or to donate to the ALS Association, click HERE.

"Happy to say ... regression has been quite slow," Fisher said. "We're very blessed and pleased he's in the state that he's in right now and we hope he stays that way for a long, long time."

Fisher added that the "ice bucket challenge" brought immense awareness around the world and he hopes that support continues to bring in funding.

Dr. Don Cleveland, who was honored with the "Breakthrough Award" at the event for his work in ALS research, said the ALS Association has made great strides with help from awareness campaigns like the ice bucket challenge to fund groundbreaking research.

"The ALS Association has been the pivotal force in the development of new, gene-silencing, designer-DNA drug therapy," Cleveland said. "It is now blossoming into approaches for silencing the disease-causing genes in ALS."

Cleveland said developments are on their way to drug trials and that similar approaches are being considered for other fatal, neurodegenerative diseases.