Amid his battle with ALS, famed local adventurer Fred Noble helps lead local fundraising efforts
Famous local adventurer Fred Noble didn't let ALS get in the way of celebrating his 75th birthday last week - he invited 100 friends with him for a ski trip to the Bugaboos mountain range in Canada.
With a contraption called a sit-ski, Noble still participates in the sport he's loved since he took his first trip to Government Camp in 1954.
'It never hit me like the end of the world because I'd done everything,' Noble says of his December 2010 diagnosis with ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease - a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
'As I say, I always thought I'd die a violent death - this way I get to say goodbye and celebrate a life well lived with everyone.'
Noble says living with ALS is a new beginning, and he's focused on finding a cure for the disease. Noble will be the honorary chairman of an April fundraising event for the The ALS Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington that helps families dealing with the struggles of ALS.
Ski to Defeat ALS, a team and individual skiing and snowboarding event, is scheduled for all day Saturday, April 14, at Mt. Hood Meadows. The event begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. and continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an after-party to follow.
Participants are competing on the slopes for vertical feet traveled and for the most dollars raised. The event also features entertainment, a silent auction and raffle opportunities.
The organization encourages participants of all ages and abilities to come out, whether they go down the slope once or 50 times. Oregon Adaptive Sports will be onsite to help anyone with ALS or another disability to take part in the event.
April 6 is the registration deadline, with a $75 fee and an expectation that participants contribute at least $150 in fundraising by check-in. Passes for $25 also are available for those who want to participate in the festivities but not hit the slopes.
Because the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the ALS Association receives no government or insurance funding, it is funded solely by events such as Ski to Defeat ALS, as well as individual and corporate donations.
This year, the ALS Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington has raised more than $71,000 of its $100,000 goal for the first-ever Ski to Defeat ALS event, with more than 100 participants signed up. The funds will help the association provide services and education to people battling ALS, their families, caregivers and health care professionals.
'The community has really rallied behind the cause,' said Meagan Lancaster, fundraising manager of the association. 'Fred is absolutely inspiring and has the best perspective.'
According to the ALS Association, about 500 individuals in Oregon and Southwest Washington - 30,000 in the United States - live with ALS. The disease has no known cause or cure, and slowly robs a person's ability to walk, speak, swallow and eventually breathe.