ALBANY, NY--Yesterday, State Senator Shelley B. Mayer (SD-37, Westchester County) was pleased that a bill she sponsored, S.8582, passed the State Senate with unanimous support. The bill creates the New York State Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Research and Education Fund and provides for a convenient way for people to contribute to the fund through a check-off box on the corporate and personal income tax forms. S.8582/A.398A was sponsored in the State Assembly by Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (AD-100, Orange and Sullivan Counties) where the bill also passed with bipartisan support.
"I thank Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues who recognized the importance of creating a convenient way to expand funding for ALS research and education," said State Senator Shelley Mayer. "In today's divisive times, it's encouraging to see legislators come together to support this worthwhile initiative. ALS has been identified for 150 years, and there is still no known treatment, cure, or cause. What we do know is that our veterans are twice as likely to die from ALS as those who have not served in the military. We need to fund vital research to ensure that we are fighting for our veterans just as they fought for us."
More commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. Persons with ALS die within two to five years after diagnosis. It is estimated that there's a diagnosis of ALS every 90 minutes in the United States, and every ninety minutes, someone dies from ALS.
"I would like to especially thank my friend Pat Quinn, a Yonkers resident, who has turned a tragic diagnosis into steadfast commitment and advocacy. As one of the co-founders of the remarkably successful Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraising and awareness campaign for ALS, Pat has been a tenacious advocate for more resources and research for ALS," added Senator Mayer. "My hope is that the New York State ALS Research and Education Fund will contribute to breakthroughs in research and make the lives of ALS patients like Pat Quinn a bit easier."
The NYS ALS Research and Education Fund will be managed by the Comptroller of the State of New York who will, annually, disperse the funds collected to nonprofits incorporated for the purpose of advancing and funding ALS research and education projects. The two non-profits who will receive the funds are the Greater New York ALS Association and the ALS Association Upstate New York Chapter.