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Northeast PTA students mark 15 years supporting ALS research

Northeast PTA students mark 15 years supporting ALS research

NORFOLK, Neb. – Students in the physical therapist assistant (PTA) program at Northeast Community College learn many methods to treat people with several conditions – one of which is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Each year, students take that understanding and use it in a meaningful way to do their part to find a cure for the progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Recently, they participated in the ALS in the Heartland Norfolk and Columbus Community Walk at Skyview Lake in Norfolk. This is the 15th year PTA students have participated in the event.

“Having our students take part in this event is a wonderful opportunity for them to not only give back to an amazing organization, but to experience the effect that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has on the lives of patients and their family members,” said Laura Schwanebeck, PTA program director. “The biggest part of the day is the ceremonial walk around Skyview Lake to honor those who are living with, those who have lost their lives to and the hope we all have for finding a cure for the disease.”

Northeast PTA students spend their time going into businesses to ask for donations as well as educate the public about the walk and ALS. On the day of the walk, students volunteer with set up and take down, participate in face painting and other children’s activities, take photos, staff water and snack stations and provide any other assistance to ALS in the Heartland representatives to ensure a successful Community Walk each and every year. 

This year, the class raised $1220. The funds, in addition to money raised at the event through cash donations and silent auction items, will remain in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota to solely and immediately support people with ALS living in those states.

Participation by Northeast PTA students in the ALS Community Walk is part of a service-learning activity that is designed to encourage self-reflection and professional growth. Students are required to write a paper explaining how the event changed them as a person and how they demonstrated the American Physical Therapy Association’s core values of accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty and social responsibility.

“We are pleased to take part in the ALS in the Heartland Community Walk and do our part to raise awareness of the disease and the organization,” Schwanebeck said.


                                                                                                  PHOTO CUTLINE 

Northeast Community College physical therapy assistant students participated in the 2022 ALS in the Heartland Norfolk and Columbus Community Walk recently at Skyview Lake in Norfolk. The event was a fundraiser to assist in the research to find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly referred to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The students raised $1,220 this year. Pictured in the front row (from left) are Anna Bassler, with dog, “Cash,” Blair; Mariah Van Leer, Ord; Erin Kujath, Fairbury; and Jade Koch, Norfolk. In the back row (from left) are Madison Dye, Burwell; Eli Knapp, Madison; Kayli Kocer, Wagner, So. Dak.; Mariah Richards, Milford; Brooklyn Moody, Aurora; and Negi Qiriqi, Pristina, Kosovo