The Mariemont High School National Honor Society accepted two awards on behalf of Graham’s GForce team for participation in the 2016 Walk to Defeat ALS last September in Winton Woods Metro Park. With 468 participants, the team had the most participants in the walk and the team raised $29,529 – the most from any returning team.
Marlin Seymour, executive director of the ALS Association Central & Southern Ohio Chapter, presented the awards to the student body during an all-school assembly. “You're helping so many people with ALS; it's an important thing to do and it's not always an easy thing to do. Each of you is that helping hand that is reaching out to each patient and each patient’s family, providing vital supportive services and care to those affected by ALS. I want to thank each of you for standing up.”
Related to the success of Graham’s GForce team, Maddy Moriarty, Mariemont High School senior, president of the National Honor Society and team captain said, “I’m so glad our love of Coach Harden was able to have such a positive impact.” Donna Neumann, teacher at the school and National Honor Society advisor, has served as the team captain in previous years and works to support and encourage student participation in the Walk to Defeat ALS.
“Donna has had a walk team for many years but this year was different because of the connection with Coach Harden. This year’s team blew the stats from previous years out of the water because of everyone’s love and devotion to this man and his family,” said Seymour. “Not only did Graham’s GForce team have the highest number participants, this is the most people on a team we have ever seen.”
The September walk surpassed the walk’s donation goal by 18%, raising $355,000. There was also the highest number of participants since 2001, with 3,052 people participating in the walk. The money raised goes to further the association and chapter’s mission to provide compassionate care for people living with ALS, advocate on their behalf and find treatments and a cure for ALS. Local services provided include case management for patients, monthly support groups and equipment loan, and all services are provided free of charge.
The National Honor Society at Mariemont High School has formed a walk team for several years, but this year they formed a team to honor the women’s lacrosse team coach, Graham Harden, who was diagnosed with ALS in August 2016. Coach Harden led the University of North Carolina to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship in 1991. He was a defenseman and co-MVP of the University of North Carolina lacrosse team that put together a perfect season on the way to the NCAA Championship in 1991. Known as “The Battleship” by his teammates for being a defensive fortress on the field, Harden would end his collegiate career as a first-team All-America selection, National Defensive Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year and one of the top 50 lacrosse players in ACC history, according to the HAN Network, New Cannan News, Connecticut.
Formed in 1983, The ALS Association Central & Southern Ohio Chapter serves patients and families in 55 counties. The chapter provides services to the ALS community, promotes awareness of the disease, raises funds for chapter programs, and advocates for ALS patients. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease for which there is still no cure or known cause. Click here for more information about ALS and the local chapter. Click here for more information about the GForce team.
The 2017 Walk to Defeat ALS in Cincinnati is scheduled for Sunday, September 17 at Winton Woods Metro Park.