Target ALS, Spartan Team Up on ‘The Toughest Challenge’ for ALS Research

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Toughest Challenge

Unsplash photo - Spartan race

Target ALS is teaming up with Spartan on a global initiative to raise funds for research that will contribute to the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Called “The Toughest Challenge for the Hardest Fight,” the inaugural campaign asks participants to raise funds by participating in a virtual Spartan race. All money raised will go toward investigative tools and therapy discovery and development programs.

Spartan races are obstacle course challenges, offered at varying levels of difficulty and distance, that are designed to push participants past the limits of what they think they can do.

“With so much attention on ALS online and in the news, I would have thought there’s already treatments that work to target the disease,” Joe DeSena, Spartan founder and CEO, said in a press release. “This is exactly the type of challenge Spartans are looking for, with so many of them active in a range of worthy causes. Defeat is out of the question, and I’m really excited we can use our community’s spirit to join the fight against ALS.”

Supporters may choose to raise at least $300 from family, friends, and colleagues, or may donate to a team whose members will individually take on — from home — a Spartan race during this year’s Spartan Virtual Trifecta World Championships, held Nov. 6 and 8.

More than $17,000 has been raised so far. Go here to set up a “The Toughest Challenge” fundraising page. Fundraising tips, including sharing the page on Facebook, may be found here.

COVID-19 has certainly affected the ability for many organizations to advance research. But it hasn’t slowed the progression of the disease,” said Jesse Bailey, Target ALS’ chief development officer.

“So, our team at Target ALS adopted the motto ‘The Work Continues,’ reflecting our continued momentum in funding projects and critically needed research tools,” Bailey said. “This program with Spartan is a representation of that tenacity, and with a fun, engaging new platform, our community will join us in raising funds so that we can continue our work without delay.”

With more than 250 races of various distances across some 40 countries on six continents, Spartan partnered with GoFundraise to build a user-friendly peer-to-peer platform participants can use for fundraising. Complete with all the tools necessary, the platform is part of Spartan’s “For a Cause” charitable initiative, which gives nonprofit organizations an opportunity to raise funds.

Nonprofit Target ALS was founded in 2013 and seeks to foster collaborations aimed at accelerating treatment discovery and development. The organization provides a growing suite of scientific tools and resources used extensively by the ALS research community. Its Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem has funded more than 175 research collaborations, five of which have led to clinical trials.

“This is an incredible opportunity to align with a world-class brand like Spartan,” said Steve Schonberg, communications director of Target ALS. “At our core, Target ALS and Spartan live the same values: we see obstacles as opportunities to inspire communities and change lives. It’s about every individual’s contribution to the world and being part of a team who helps each other realize their full potential.”