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East County News Service

August 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) has been named a supporter of the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter’s 2020 ALS Fiesta, the chapter’s annual major fundraiser. This year’s ALS Fiesta, the fifth annual, will be held as a virtual online event from 7 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 12. Participation in this year’s ALS Fiesta is free and open to the public. Proceed will benefit the chapter’s services provided to local families living with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Several fundraising opportunities will be available for the online event, including an online auction and mystery box shopping, which will be held during Fiesta week, from Aug. 10 to 14, as well as a fund-the-mission, “paddle raise” on Aug. 12.

In addition, supporters can purchase for $205 a Fiesta VIP package, which will include refreshments and gifts. The VIP package, including complimentary home delivery prior to Aug. 12, is priced in honor of the 205 families living with ALS who are currently registered with the Greater San Diego Chapter.

“Because of COVID-19 guidelines for large crowd events, we decided to go virtual,” said Steve Becvar, Executive Director, ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter. “The safety and well being of our patients, families and caregivers will always be our first priority. Our fundraising dinner typically attracts more than 250 people and raises more than $100,000. We’re hoping for the same level of support for our virtual Fiesta because ALS doesn’t stop during a virus pandemic. We’re asking the community to support the people, families, and caretakers affected by this progressive and terminal disease, which takes away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, eat and breathe. Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes someone loses their battle to this fatal disease.”

The theme for this year’s ALS Fiesta is ALS Care Services, which is the program provided by the ALS Association that helps patients and families cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with ALS. ALS Care Services includes providing information, resources, referrals to many sources and a wide variety of community services, such as partnering with the ALS San Diego Clinic at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Proceeds from the Fiesta will benefit the chapter’s Care Services program, as well as research and advocacy.

San Diego-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals has been named the presenting sponsor of the 2020 ALS Fiesta. In addition to GHD, other sponsors include Valley View Casino & Hotel of Valley Center, Access Medical of Carlsbad, LifePro Financial Services of San Diego, Harmony Home Medical of San Diego, Adapt Functional Movement Center of Carlsbad and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

For more event information, visit To donate or ask additional questions, contact Melissa McElvain, Associate Director of Donor Engagement, at or 858-271-5547.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in people living with ALS weakens muscles and impacts physical function. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis. Life expectancy for a person with ALS is within two to five years of diagnosis of initial symptoms. There is no cure, cause or no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.  

The Greater San Diego Chapter, chartered in February 2013, is one of 39 chapters nationwide. The San Diego chapter works closely with the ALS San Diego Clinic at the University of California San Diego, which has been certified as a Center of Excellence by the national ALS organization. At its San Diego offices, the local chapter also showcases an ALS bedroom and bathroom that is equipped with features and benefits that would be helpful to people with ALS. For more information about the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter, visit


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