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News & Events

ALS IN THE HEARTLAND’S WALK GIVES HOPE TO THOSE WITH LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE

Hundreds of people wanting to positively impact their world will congregate at Stinson Park on Sunday, April 30th for ALS in the Heartland’s Omaha Area Walk. Rain or shine, teams, families and individuals will raise support for today and hope for the future for Nebraskans and western Iowans with ALS.

With ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a person maintains their mind, but progressively loses control of every muscle—essentially becoming a prisoner in their own body. There is no treatment or cure and, once diagnosed, patients almost always die within 2-5 years.

David and Linda Raney know all-to-well the dire effects of the cruel disease. Their daughter, Dana Lynn Raney, was ALS in the Heartland’s youngest patient (23 when she first came to the agency).

Says David, “We watched Dana lose her ability to walk, her ability to use her arms, her ability to talk, her ability to swallow, and her ability to breathe without the aid of a ventilator.” Linda adds, “Dana suffered beyond words. Each and every day for two years, this monster of a disease took something from our daughter; we can never know the pain and helplessness she felt . . . Dana cried so much, and we had to wipe her eyes.”

The Raneys are not alone. ALS in the Heartland works with dozens of families on a similar journey. In fact, the agency was created by families affected by ALS. Approaching their eleventh year in service, ALS in the Heartland provides support through equipment loans, counseling, respite services and other programs. All services are free to patients, and no one is turned away.

Not under the umbrella of a national organization, 100% of ALS in the Heartland’s proceeds stay in Nebraska and western Iowa. In other words, they are able to help people immediately without having to go through channels of a national headquarters. However, as an independent agency, they must rely on funds raised at events like the Walk to continue their mission.

For as long as she was able, Dana Lynn Raney participated in the Omaha Area Walk. While her illness was very hard on her, she still maintained her ever-loving upbeat attitude and eagerness to spread love. “She gave us her motto for Team Dana, LOVE STRONG, and that is exactly what she did,” says David. Linda adds, “We live by her words every day.”

Dana’s family continues her legacy as active, faithful supporters of ALS in the Heartland. Relatives from as far as Virginia fly in to participate in the Walk. This year, the Raneys will be the honorary Walk chairs. The Walk will also host a cookout, live band, kids’ bounce house, and lots of giveaways. Walk routes are handicapped-accessible AND pet-friendly.

All ages are invited to register (for free!), create a team, join an existing team, or donate resources. To be involved at the Walk or send your support, text OMAHA to 71777 or visit http://alsintheheartland.org/news-events/omaha-area-walk.html.

In the meantime, David urges, “HUG THOSE YOU LOVE, and don’t be embarrassed; be thankful that they can hug you back. I would have given anything for a hug from Dana. Let’s find a cure and LOVE STRONG!”

ALS in the Heartland’s 11th Annual Omaha Area Walk
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Stinson Park at Aksarben Village (67th & Center), Omaha, NE
Noon: On-site registration & activities start. 1 PM: The Walk commences.