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UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Donates to ALS Through Pitt Basketball Free Throws

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 9, 2012 – Each University of Pittsburgh free throw made this 2012-13 season means one point for the Panthers men’s basketball team and $10 for Western Pennsylvanians facing Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) announced today a partnership with the prominent Pitt program and the ALS Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter, which raises donations toward care for patients, families and caregivers dealing with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -– commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. CRS will make a $10 donation to the local ALS chapter for every free-throw attempt converted by the nationally ranked Pitt Panthers men’s team this season. They’ve averaged 511 per season over the past five.
CRS also is a corporate sponsor for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter ALS walk and a golf outing, proceeds of which benefit research at the national ALS Therapy Development Institute. 
“We’re delighted to be a partner with ALS and University of Pittsburgh athletics,” said Paul Rockar, CEO of CRS, both a Pitt graduate and a member of the ALS Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter board of directors. “We hope Coach Jamie Dixon’s team succeeds both on the floor and at the place also known as ‘the charity stripe.’ Throughout the year, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services is committed to helping organizations that provide support to those in our community in their time of need.”
“The chapter would like to thank CRS for not only how helpful it is in raising awareness for ALS, but in assisting directly with patient care in the 31 counties we serve in Western Pennsylvania,” said Jenni Franz, director of development for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter. “Donations become necessary when you take into account that the average cost for a person living with ALS in progressed stages is $250,000 annually,” she added.
“We are extremely pleased to play a role in helping the ALS Association reach its goals,” Pitt basketball Coach Jamie Dixon said. “We also want to thank UPMC for its generosity in supporting such a worthy cause. Our goal as a team is to convert as many free throws as we can this season to assist in the battle against Lou Gehrig's disease.”
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease in which neurons in the brain and spinal cord waste away, causing loss of voluntary movement of the muscles – to the point where a person no longer is able to walk, talk, swallow and, eventually, breathe. The average patient is between 45 and 60 and lives two to five years after onset of the disease. Military veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS, and the Veteran’s Administration considers it to be service-related. The Western Pennsylvania Chapter serves on average 300 people locally living with ALS, along with their caregivers and families.

About the ALS Association

The ALS Association is the only national, not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. The Western Pennsylvania Chapter relies on the support of its volunteers and donors to provide a multitude of free services within 31 counties of Western Pennsylvania to persons living with ALS (PALS), caregivers and families. To learn more about the Western Pennsylvania Chapter or to join the fight against ALS, please visit or call the Chapter at 1-800-967-9296.

About UPMC Centers for Rehab Services

Since 1986, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) has provided one of the largest networks of community-based, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation services in western Pennsylvania — backed by more than 500 experienced and dedicated rehabilitation professionals. As part of the UPMC community, and through an affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh, CRS is able to offer substantial benefits in terms of resources and research for both our patients and therapists. Currently, expert physical, occupational, and speech therapy, including a wide-range of specialized programs, are provided at more than 50 convenient locations in western Pennsylvania, as well as five Erie area locations.

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