The tournament and a fund-raising auction took place in American’s home base of Dallas, May 24 and 25.
“We are proud to partner with Answer ALS on behalf of all American team members,” Doug Parker, the airline’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. The employees include Peter Warlick, the company’s vice president of finance, “who was recently diagnosed with ALS,” Parker said.
“Peter is a champion for all American team members fighting this disease,” Parker said. “And we believe there is a real opportunity to bring attention to orphan diseases, like ALS, that require additional awareness and fundraising support in order to bring them to an end. It means a great deal to the American family to host this event in our hometown.”
More than 200 notables who support the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis community were at the tournament, including golf enthusiasts and people dedicated to fighting the disease through research.
One was Steve Gleason, a former safety for the New Orleans Saints professional football team, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Gleason addressed the gathering before the auction.
“We know if we are going to find solutions to ALS, a disease with no known cure, or viable treatment, we have to be bigger than the disease,” he said. “But, I hear everything is bigger in Texas, so this is right in your wheelhouse. I believe it is a pivotal time for ALS.”
Last year, American Airlines pledged $1 million for the Answer ALS research initiative. The money it raises through the golf tournament is part of the commitment.
American is also collaborating with Answer ALS to provide information about the disease to its employees and their dependents and to let them know about resources for ALS patients, including voice-activated banking.
Answer ALS is a joint research effort that involves six clinical sites, 24 research centers and about 1,000 patients, making it the largest ALS research initiative ever.
“As an ALS researcher, it’s incredible to see leaders in business come together for this cause,” said Jeffrey Rothstein, Answer ALS’s executive director. “American’s commitment and leadership has raised much-needed funds to continue the important work we are doing to help solve ALS.
“The Answer ALS research project is the largest coordinated and aggressive ALS research effort designed to quickly find answers to a disease that’s largely been a mystery. So, we are grateful committed groups like those [whom] American gathered for the tournament are also being aggressive in helping us raise those needed dollars.”