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Williamsville martial arts academy to hold Kick-A-Thon for ALS

Pride Martial Arts Academy of Williamsville will hold its fifth annual Kick-A-Thon Saturday morning in the St. Leo the Great Catholic Church gymnasium, 903 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.

Organizers hope participants will complete 55,555 kicks and raise at least $15,555.55 for The ALS Association. Last year’s event raised $12,000.

Participants also will be encouraged to participate Aug. 1 in the ALS Association’s “Walk to Defeat ALS” in Delaware Park. Register for that event at web.alsa.org.

Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.

ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. There is no known cause of the disease, which costs an average of $200,000 a year to treat and address.

Todd Patterson, owner and head instructor at Pride Martial Arts Academy, has supported The ALS Association and the “Walk to Defeat ALS” for the past five years after losing his mother, Emma J. Patterson, to a two-year battle with the disease.

“After providing 24-hour care for my own mother, I learned how much support my family and I needed,” Patterson said in a news release. “Thanks to the ALS Association and their local services, my mother and family were able to receive countless hours of personal and financial support.”

Registration – open to anyone 4 years old and up – starts at 9 a.m. next Saturday and costs $30 for those unaffiliated with Pride Martial Arts. Academy students may participate for free. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.; in addition to the 55,555 kicks, there will be a basket auction, large ticket raffle and martial arts demonstrations, including the breaking of 555 boards by participants. Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the day’s events. For more information, call 565-0202 or visit buffalokickbox.com.

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