Solana Pacific Elementary School fifth grader Cole Spector helped launch SLAM ALS, a national campaign to slam the door on ALS forever at a school-wide assembly on May 2.
The SLAM ALS campaign seeks to get people to post videos to social media showing how they would slam the disease, to raise awareness and to encourage others to make donations to Project ALS to fund research and hopefully find a cure.
Cole’s cousin and aunt, Madison and Deborah Silver, created SLAM ALS and it is the family’s hope that the campaign takes off like the Ice Bucket Challenge, with participants all over the world.
Finding a cure for ALS is a mission close to Cole’s heart as his aunt Marjie Block has been fighting ALS for seven years. His entire family has been committed to finding a cure and in total they have raised about $150,000.
“Each and every day she battles this disease. She fights to walk on her own, to keep talking and to independently do so many things we all take for granted,” Cole said. “My aunt has taught me the value of having a positive attitude and to never, ever give up.”
Cole got help during the assembly from teacher Kelly Monahan, who has an uncle fighting ALS.
ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is fatal and there is no cure.
Cole showed a video to students about Lou Gehrig, the famous New York Yankee known as “The Iron Horse” who was forced to retire due to the disease and died two years later at the age of 37.
“Imagine losing your ability to walk, to eat, to speak, to move, to breathe but your brain remains fully alert,” Cole said. “That is what ALS does to you.”
Cole encouraged his school and the community to be “SLAMbassadors” by getting creative and making their own videos and posting them starting May 9 with the hashtag #SlamALS and the website SlamALS.org. They can then challenge at least three friends to post their own videos by saying “You have 24 hours to SLAM ALS!”
The campaign already has celebrity participants with a Miami Heat player slamming a basketball, tennis player Chris Evert is going to slam a tennis ball with her racket, tap dancer Tommy Tune is going to slam his tap shoes to the floor and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth is going to slam a high “C.”
Cole made his own video of himself, slamming a soccer ball into a net, knocking it down to the grass. On Monday, he led the school in everyone stomping one foot to the floor at once, a Solana Pacific SLAM.
Another way to support the cause is to buy SLAM socks from AreYouKidding.net; a portion of the proceeds goes to Project ALS. For more information, visit slamALS.org.