Team Bannon crushes $1M mark for ALS


By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown-based Team Bannon/Crush ALS went over $1 million raised in its 10th-consecutive year of participating in the 270-mile, three-day Tri-State Trek, ALS bicycle ride to raise money to fund research seeking a cure for the fatal disease.

Team Bannon/Crush ALS was formed 10 years ago by Breen Bannon of Youngstown and his sister, Lisa Bannon Steinmetz of New Jersey, and their sister-in-law, Elaine Bannon of Michigan, to honor Elaine’s husband, Charles “Chuck” Bannon, who died of myotrophic lateral sclerosis on April 18, 2009, after a three-year battle with the disease.

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative affliction that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord for which there is no known cure. Once diagnosed, victims usually live two to five years, Breen said.

The trek took place the last weekend in June starting at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and ending in Greenwich, Conn.

Going into the 2018 Tri-State Trek, Team Bannon was the all-time leading team for funds raised for the Tri-State Trek that, with the help of the Youngstown community and others, this year surpassed the $1 million mark in the drive to help fund research to find a cure for ALS.

A total of $676,859 was raised to date by the 300 riders on 40 teams plus 130 volunteers/crew members who participated in this year’s event. Fundraising continues until the end of October.

In a post-ride letter to supporters, Breen wrote: “We had our biggest and most passionate team yet this year with 18 riders and 10 crew members coming from all over the United States. The riders are an unusual combination of intensely competitive, super-athletic, fun-loving and kind individuals. Together, we have raised a whopping $171,625 so far this year, and Team Bannon/Crush ASL is the number-one fundraising team for the sixth year in a row.”

“It is because of your amazing generosity that we hit the $1 million total raised for the life of our team. We could never have reached this milestone without you. Hats [or helmets] off to you, and thank you,” Breen continued.

“I’m thrilled, and somewhat relieved, to report that Team Bannon/Crush ALS finished our 10th consecutive Tri-State Trek the last weekend of June – all 280 miles of it. Everyone finished safe, the weather cooperated for the most part, and even after riding 10 times, it was just as moving, motivating, rewarding and amazing as it was the first time,” he wrote.

On a more personal note, Breen wrote: “After all these years, I’ve realized the weekend has become more than a bicycle ride. It has become a weekend to honor our brother Chuckie, to raise money so others won’t have to suffer from ALS, to see other incredible people who have vowed to fight the disease and to visit with the scientists who are working for a cure. It’s an amazing event that we all hope will serve its purpose one day.”

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