In 2004, Paul Carey Jr. was 13 years old, and his brother Christian was 11. The boys were both active in all kinds of extracurriculars. Paul was a passionate hockey athlete and Christian a talented young actor, and both excelled at schoolwork.
One Friday in May 2004, their world turned inside-out. As they sat on their living room couch in their Cincinnati, Ohio home, their parents explained to them that their mother, Lorri, had been diagnosed with ALS. Lorri was 38 years old.
“When our mom told us that ALS is a fatal disease with no known cure and that ALS usually takes the lives of patients in just 2-5 years, we knew we needed to do something. We could not just sit back and watch,” Paul said.
From that moment, Kids4Cure: Two Brothers on a Mission, was formed. The boys registered a team in the Cincinnati Walk to Defeat ALS in the fall of 2004 and rallied support from across the community. In their inaugural year, they raised more than $80,000 and brought nearly 550 people to walk with them.
“We established Kids4Cure as our platform to raise money and awareness for this fatal disease in hopes of finding a cure,” Paul said.
Since 2004, they have attended 13 ALS Association National Advocacy Days and participated in 14 Walks to Defeat ALS. They have raised just shy of $900,000 for The ALS Association, including a nationwide record in 2014, raising more than $178,000.
Next year will be their 15th Walk to Defeat ALS. These “two brothers on a mission” have set a goal to raise $1 million overall by the 2018 Cincinnati Walk to Defeat ALS – all in honor of their mother who is still living with ALS.
“We believe that 15-year mark is a momentous year for the Kids4Cure team,” Paul said. “We’ve identified this walk as a time to celebrate the accomplishments our team has made, while signaling that we are still pushing for MORE. We hope that the $1 million goal will encourage our team members and community to take part in Kids4Cure’s mission this year.”
As the boys have grown up, their networks have grown as well. They’ve encouraged new friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers to join the movement. They’ve hosted large-scale community ALS Ice Bucket Challenges, created multiple awareness public service announcements, helped to form a young professionals group, and continued to support patient care services and advocacy efforts on behalf of those living with ALS.
“It is an exciting time to be an ALS advocate,” Paul said. “We’re starting to see results from Ice Bucket Challenge funded research, and as a family of long-time advocates, this pushes us to want to do more. We are looking for a cure every day.”
To reach the $1 million goal, Kids4Cure will be hosting a variety of fundraising events throughout the year, including a Strike Out ALS paper baseball campaign. Team members of Kids4Cure have been helpful in introducing Paul and Christian to their employers to pursue corporate partnerships.
Throughout the years, they have received tremendous support from The ALS Association Central & Southern Ohio Chapter by providing supportive equipment to Lorri, support groups, and much more. The Chapter provides educational resources about ALS and the Walk for team members and enables easy communication between team members and members of Congress regarding legislation that impacts those living with ALS.
“Once we hit the $1 million goal, we will celebrate,” Paul said. “And the next day, we will set a new goal.”
To learn about how to get involved in the Walk to Defeat ALS click here.