Ride For Life’s Clint Strait Visits SJC Brooklyn

March 01, 2016

Ride For Life BKL-R: Jeremy Cash, SJC assistant professor for the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Glenn Baldwin and Clint Strait

ALS is a disease many of us know well. From Yankee Lou Gherig to astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the affliction has received media coverage across the world. But how do we deal with the disease on a local level?

For the past three years, St. Joseph's College has assisted The Ride For Life, Inc. — a non-profit organization established in 1997. Each year, during the ALS awareness month of May, Ride For Life raises funds to find a cure by conducting a 12-day, 100-plus mile wheelchair ride across Long Island. The event draws thousands, and concludes with a signature ride across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.

On March 1, representatives from Ride For Life visited SJC Brooklyn, just two miles away from the iconic bridge that its participants will pass across later this May.

Clint Strait, who is currently living with ALS, was accompanied by his wife, Leslie, and Glenn Baldwin —a Ride For Life volunteer. Clint and Glenn co-presented a history of ALS, from its early days in 1939 and Lou Gherig to the current push for a cure.

"6,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year," Glenn said, describing the heartbreaking progress of the disease and its crippling control over the human body.

"I first noticed a problem saying large words," Clint said of his own experience, with the assistance of a computer. "I went to a neurologist, and after ruling out certain other diseases, I was told I had ALS."

Clint received his diagnosis in January 2014. Two years later, and Clint has lost the use of speech and is confined to a wheelchair. His powerful message, however, was a simple one:

"Never give up. Never lose hope."

This May, St. Joseph's Colleg will once again participate in the Ride For Life across Long Island. From SJC Long Island in Patchogue to SJC Brooklyn. Annually, ALS is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 people. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from time of diagnosis. If you'd like to get involved in this year's Ride For Life event, email Gail Lamberta at [email protected] or visit alsrideforlife.org.

Members of SJC Brooklyn with Clint and Leslie Strait, and Glenn Baldwin
Members of SJC Brooklyn with Clint and Leslie Strait, and Glenn Baldwin (center)