Ride for Life

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For the ninth consecutive year, the students and staff at North Babylon High School set out to raise awareness and money to cure the powerful and fatal disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Organized by the high school’s Leader Club and its adviser Patricia Szlosek, the high school hosted a breakfast and morning send-off for Chris Pendergast and his organization Ride for Life on May 15. The Ride for Life campaign is a nonprofit run by ALS patients and caregivers to raise money for research and awareness of the disease through an annual trek from the east end of Long Island to the borough of Manhattan.

During the send-off ceremony, students from the chorus, marching band and kickline performed for guests. Former Dean of Students Barbara Brown spoke to the students on behalf of the organization and in memory of Mary Murphy, a beloved North Babylon High School librarian who passed away from ALS in 2004. “You made a difference today,” said Ms. Brown. Since Mrs. Murphy’s untimely passing, North Babylon High School has donated more than $150,000 to help find a cure for the disease.

This year, the high school raised more than $9,000 and presented Mr. Pendergast with an oversized check. Mr. Pendergast, who has been living with the disease for 20 years, thanked the students for their donation. “I look around this auditorium and I see all of your faces, and I look into your hearts and I see hope,” he said. “I am not alone…I may live long enough to see a cure and that would be great, but if I do not, I will at least die with the peace and the satisfaction that I have done my best. I have done everything in my power and I have made a difference.”

Following the brief ceremony, students joined the Ride for Life group, walking to Argyle Park in Babylon.