Project ALS signals the start of its 5th annual Don’t Talk-a-Thon, a digital fundraising campaign in which supporters vow to take at least an hour of silence to raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.
Throughout the month of May, supporters will pledge to take an hour or more of silence on Thursday, May 30. Supporters create an online fundraising page to raise funds for the Don’t Talk-a-Thon campaign. Participants also upload a photo of themselves holding a sign titled “I’m not talking for” and fill in a name or cause motivating them to take a vow of silence.
Avery Niedrowski, 17, from Exeter Township, Pennsylvania started the Don’t Talk-a-Thon in 2009 after her grandfather, John Wetherhold, passed away from ALS in 2007. Niedrowski took a vow of silence to honor his memory with the hopes of raising money for ALS research, so no one else would have to experience the pain she felt for her departed Grandpa John. Her efforts raised almost $10,000 in the first year which she donated to Project ALS.
“I experienced firsthand how powerful it is when a large group of people remain silent for an hour for a good cause,” Avery explained in her kickoff letter for this year’s Don’t Talk-a-Thon.
Since the first Don’t Talk-a-Thon, a total of $600,000 has been raised with $180,000 of that amount raised during last year’s campaign. This year, funds will go towards the Project ALS Therapeutics Core at Columbia, a 3-year, $6.3 million initiative toward the first meaningful therapies for ALS. The Core is the world’s first and only partnership between a world-class academic institution and a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to a full-spectrum approach to ALS drug development, preclinical evaluation, and human clinical trials.