NEW YORK, April 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Brothers Mike and Joey Devlin announced their plans to travel across the U.S. to raise significant research funds for Project ALS in an effort to try one promising autophagy drug in people with ALS.
Mike Devlin, 27, is an ultramarathon runner who will begin his quest in San Francisco on Saturday, April 15. Over the course of 100 days, Mike will run 3,000 miles across America, with his younger brother Joey, 23, who will drive the follow vehicle. They are scheduled to complete their journey on August 1st in New York City. Mike's goal is not to break records, but to raise awareness about this fatal brain condition and raise monies that will directly go toward fighting and finding a cure for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. 100% of funds raised from #ProjectRun go directly toward vital research to deliver one new drug to clinical trial for people with ALS.
Mike and Joey's schedule is available and will be documented at ALSProjectRun.com, along with opportunities for visitors to follow their remarkable endeavor, as well as make sponsorship or financial contributions. ALS advocates, families and friends affected by ALS, and those interested in joining Mike on his runs, are encouraged to come out, meet Mike and Joey, and show their support.
ALS is extremely personal to Mike and Joey, who lost their grandmother Edna Devlin to Bulbar ALS in 2014. "Three years ago, we watched as ALS attempted to strip our Grandmother of her humanity," said Mike Devlin. "Now, Joey and I want to focus all of our efforts on fighting this disease and paying it forward, just as Grandma Devlin would have done. In planning this expedition, we wanted to align ourselves with an organization that would be both transparent and allow us to commit all funds raised toward finding a cure for this horrible disease. Project ALS is this partner – they've shown us the research they are focused on, how they are pushing forward in the fight against ALS, and are allowing us to dedicate every dollar directly to research, not infrastructure."
Approximately only 300 people have ever successfully completed their own runs across America, and Mike will soon join this roster of elite runners. "This 3,000-mile, 100-day run is about showing that you're capable of more than you think," said Joey Devlin. "When something as daunting as ALS confronts you, you fight whether you're ready or not. While Mike and I are on the road, we want to meet those who have been affected by ALS and those who have shown unwavering strength and courage to help find a cure."
Devlin's #ProjectRun and Project ALS have already tapped the expertise of a dream team of ALS researchers that is testing FDA approved cancer drugs that hit a cellular process known as autophagy. Autophagy happens in every living cell of the human body. It's like waste management for cells. When autophagy works, it clears unwanted proteins from a cell. When autophagy machinery goes wrong, a cell becomes overwhelmed with proteins and does not function properly.
"Autophagy is a fancy word for something that happens inside of cells that may contribute to ALS. The amazing Devlin brothers will raise funds to support the aggressive testing of a drug that is already FDA-approved to target autophagy," said Valerie Estess, director of research for Project ALS.
#ProjectRun Cities (visit ALSProjectRun.com for the full schedule):
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
North Bend, NE
Des Moines, IA
Nottingham Woods, IL
South Bend, IN
New York, NY
For Mike and Joey's full schedule and to donate to #ProjectRun, follow their journey at ALSProjectRun.com, Twitter.com/TheMikeDevlin, Instagram.com/TheMikeDevlin, and Facebook.com/ProjectALS.
What is ALS?
ALS is a brain disease that is closely related to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS targets brain cells called motor neurons. Motor neurons send messages from the brain to muscles throughout the body. In ALS, as motor neurons die, a person progressively loses the ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. ALS affects adults of all ages, from teens to seniors, and is usually fatal within 2-5 years of diagnosis.
About Project ALS
Founded in 1998, the non-profit Project ALS has advanced ALS research, accelerating the testing of potential drugs, establishing the world's first and only privately funded stem cell laboratory, and developing the first laboratory models of ALS. Project ALS identifies and funds scientific research most likely to result in the first effective treatments and a cure. By recruiting the world's best scientists and doctors to work together – rationally and aggressively – Project ALS has developed a better understanding of the ALS disease process and, in parallel, better therapeutic strategies. Project ALS is the only ALS organization who has an organized RAB that reviews proposals and progress. In 18 years, Project ALS has raised over $92 million, directing between 80-93% annually to research programs. For more information, visit ProjectALS.org.
SOURCE Project ALS