Walking for Wally

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Sunday, June 2, was Lou Gehrig Day across Major League Baseball, an annual opportunity to shine a light on everyone, everywhere who is living with ALS. For Paul Seaver, one of our staff members, Lou Gehrig Day has provided an opportunity to raise both awareness, and funds, in the fight to end ALS. Here is his story.

By Paul Seaver

My father, Paul “Wally” Seaver, was diagnosed with ALS on February 16, 2011, and passed away from the disease on February 5, 2013. I was 23 years old at the time of his passing. My father was everything that I could have asked for in a dad.

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We have many similarities, including our passion and love for coaching the game of basketball. He coached high school and youth basketball for nearly three decades. He coached the night he was diagnosed, knowing that was his final game. I have been coaching high school basketball in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the past 15 years, since I was 19 years old.

My hiring/start date with the ALS Association was May 22, 2023—a date that ironically also matches his birthday—and is obviously part of ALS Awareness Month. I’m Manager of Community Engagement & Events, and I specialize in the Boston area overseeing our CEO Soak Boston, Walk to Defeat ALS® Boston events, as well as our Boston Marathon team.

Prior to my hiring, I worked with my wife—Whitney—who is currently the Athletic Trainer at Holliston High School, to develop a plan that would help prepare me to walk 32 miles from our home in Bellingham to Fenway Park and attend the Boston Red Sox game on Lou Gehrig’s Day on June 2, 2023. I completed the walk in approximately 7 hours and 32 minutes.

This year, I was able to complete my walk 57 minutes faster, in 6 hours and 35 minutes, in time to be part of the on-field Lou Gehrig Day ceremonies before the Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers in extra innings.

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The idea and the planning of the “Walking for Wally” fundraiser coincides with a high school basketball summer tournament in Massachusetts that I run in memory of my father. This summer—on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28—the 13th Annual “Wally” Seaver High School Invitational will take place at Mass Premier Courts in Foxboro and the Dana Barros Basketball Club in Stoughton.

The tournament annually features 125-150 high school basketball programs from five to six different states coming together to raise funds and awareness for ALS. This year, we have already surpassed 100+ teams that are committed to play, the fifth consecutive year the tournament has hit that mark.

“Walking for Wally”—32 miles from Bellingham to Fenway Park—is meant to boost fundraising efforts in conjunction with the “Wally” Seaver High School Invitational. From the two personal events, we donate proceeds to the Walk to Defeat ALS® as a “Catch Me If You Can” team-based challenge/incentive. Last year we were able to set that bar at $20,000, and while we start over fresh like any other event, we hope to achieve that mark again!

Thank you, Paul for sharing your memories of your dad and the inspiring way you have found to continue his legacy while raising awareness and funds to help us make ALS livable for everyone, everywhere, until we can cure it.

To continue to follow stories about people living with ALS in the community and learn more about the disease, subscribe to receive our weekly blogs in your inbox HERE or follow us at als.org/blog.

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