Thursday September 13, 2012
On September 22, 2012, dozens of South Burlington residents will gather to participate in the Spartan Beast at Killington Resort in Killington, VT in order to raise money for the ALS Association of Northern New England. The Spartan Beast is a grueling 13-mile obstacle course that winds its way up and down the mountain. Racers will be climbing over walls, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping over fire to complete this challenge.
What drives them to do this? Some people love a good challenge, but for the Spartan Racers to Conquer ALS it is so much more. They are doing it to raise money for the ALS Association of Northern New England (ALSANNE). ALS is a degenerative, neuromuscular disease that is fatal. There is little treatment, no known cause, and no known cure. It can strike anyone at any time. In fact, that happened to SB resident Frank Petrosino in March of 2010. Frank’s wife Heidi Smith remembers, “Frank was one of those guys that was always fit. He would get up early in the morning to get a workout in before work. He was always running around with the kids and very active. I could barely keep up with him.” Then one day as they were sitting at the dining room table, she noticed the muscle in his right bicep was twitching. He brushed it off as nothing to worry about. As the months continued, the twitching grew more frequent and spread across his torso. This lead him to go see a doctor, after several months of testing, the conclusion was devastating.
Frank was diagnosed with ALS and told, “if you have always wanted to take a trip, now is the time to do it.” The average person lives between 2–5 years after diagnosis.
As the family struggles to live with this challenge, the ALSANNE is there for them. ALSANNE supports medical clinics for ALS patients, holds support groups for patients and families, and has a loan closet for equipment. They are also active in research and advocacy. “I honestly don’t know what we would have done without the help from the ALS Association,” says Smith. “It is heart breaking to watch someone you love deteriorate so quickly. Frank can no longer walk or eat and has a lot of trouble talking.”
Feeling helpless, Smith knew she had to do something. When a friend told her about the Spartan Race, she decided to form a team and raise money for the ALSANNE. Last year, the team raised over $15,000 and hopes to raise even more this year. Smith says, “I think of how courageous Frank is, and it gives me the strength to keep going when the race gets tough.”
For more information about the Spartan Racers to Conquer ALS, please visit www.burlingtonbootcamp.com or contact Heidi Smith at email@example.com. If you would like to make a donation to the team you can visit http://web.alsa.org/goto/SpartanRaceHuzzahForFrank.