On Saturday, June 22, 2019, we are hosting our 3rd Annual Charity Marathon Row! Numerous teams of five people will be rowing a marathon (42,195 meters) at Romeo Athletics in Enfield, CT, to raise awareness and funds to help in the fight against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). All proceeds will go directly to Tucker Wood, a family member of the Romeo Athletics community who is currently battling ALS. ALS is a terminal neurodegenerative disease that affects 6,000 new patients each year, and leaves them prisoners in their own bodies.
On July 7, 2016, at only 33 years old, Tucker was diagnosed with ALS. The diagnosis came as a complete shock as his only symptom was cramping in his wrist which he attributed to a soccer injury. The doctor shared the unfortunate news that not only is there no cure and extremely limited FDA-approved treatment for ALS, but the life expectancy after diagnosis is 2-5 years.
Tucker has been a preschool teacher for the past 12 years while also pursuing his love of photography and music in his spare time. He loves to travel, cook, camp and spend time with friends and family. His happiest and top priority though, is being a father. Despite the diagnosis, Tucker and his wife, Lauren, welcomed their beautiful, healthy and happy daughter, Eloise, in February of 2018.
ALS affects each person differently and for Tucker it began by affecting the use of his left arm and has now impacted his right arm, as well. To date, Tucker has minimal use of his arms and lacks fine motor skills within his hands. His legs are still considered strong, however, his gait is affected because of his other ALS symptoms, thus making him prone to trips and falls. Due to his progression, this spring represents his last year of teaching and he will be unable to work moving forward.
Without a cure, the inevitable progression will continue to limit Tucker's independence. He currently relies on his wife or others for simple daily tasks such as dressing and feeding himself. Unfortunately, driving and even walking will soon be activities of the past. All of the proceeds from the Charity Row will go directly the Wood family to alleviate the mounting medical bills and the expensive costs associated with Tucker’s day-to-day living and necessary care.
The estimated yearly medical cost associated with caring for an ALS patient in the US is $150,000-$200,000. ALS, like cancer, can affect anyone. Young or old. Male or female. Every race, religion, and socio-economic class. It doesn’t discriminate based on who you know, where you grew up, or who your parents were. Nearly 90% of ALS patients have no family history of the disease.