WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Papa John's International, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is helping The ALS Association raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and boost participation the Walk to Defeat ALS®, which brings hope to those living with ALS and is an opportunity for individuals with the disease and their families and friends to spend a day with others in the ALS community. The Association is also pleased to welcome Papa John's Founder, Chairman and CEO John Schnatter as its National Walk Ambassador.
Approximately 175,000 people participated in Walks to support The ALS Association last year. Events in 2013 raised $23.5 million in support of care services, ALS research and public policy efforts at the federal, state and local levels.
"The Walk galvanizes members of the ALS community," said Jane H. Gilbert, President and CEO of The ALS Association. "We are so pleased that Papa John's has joined this effort, and appreciate such a personal commitment from John Schnatter. The company's support will truly help in the fight against this devastating disease."
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.
As National Walk Ambassador, Mr. Schnatter will work to raise awareness and visibility to encourage event participation nationwide. Papa John's has produced two thirty second television advertisements featuring Mr. Schnatter promoting the walks. A proud supporter of veterans, he also touches upon the unfortunate connection between ALS and members of the military who are diagnosed with ALS at twice the rate of the general public.
"I'm honored to serve as National Walk Ambassador," said Schnatter. "Hopefully our efforts will help raise awareness of ALS, and funds to assist those battling this disease."
Several of Papa John's regions have also opted-in to help promote our walks in a total of 14 markets where both the company and The ALS Association have a visible presence. They have agreed to include the television ad, tagged with local event information, in the company's designated marketing buys.
The ads will run on television for two weeks prior to the walks in each of the 14 markets, which include: Austin and Dallas, Texas; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Lexington and Louisville, Ky.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Baton Rouge and Shreveport, La.; Baltimore, Md.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Omaha, Neb.; and Wichita, Kan.
The franchises in these markets will also include "box toppers" that include local event information.
People most often participate in the Walk to Defeat to honor—or remember—a loved one with the disease, to show their support for the cause, or to walk as a member of a corporate team. To sign up for a Walk to Defeat ALS, visit www.walktodefeatals.org.
About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.
SOURCE The ALS Association