formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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September 9, 2014 ALS Around the World, part 1

The Liberty Gazette
September 9, 2014
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: Chances are you or someone you know has taken the ice bucket challenge within the past 12 months. Its all the craze and has brought a significant increase to awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS. You’ve probably seen video testimonials of people suffering from ALS, or their loved ones. The ALS Association wants to create a world without ALS, and if you’ve been moved by the stories and challenged by your friends to donate you have likely called either the ALS Association or ALS Therapy Development Institute.

So where will your money go?

Well, if you donate to the ALS Association ( 28% will go to research, 19% to patient and community services, 32% will go to public and professional education, and there’s an allotment for fundraising and administration for the rest of it. Depending on what you want done with your money, this may or may not be the choice for you.

Point is, you do have choices.

ALS TDI has put their plan for the ice bucket challenge windfall on their website for all to see – - with 86% going to research.

Basically what you need to know is that your ice dumping and your donations have made a difference. Funding that was not available in last year’s budgets is now available for critical research, mainly using either iPS cells obtained from skin biopsy, or mice. That’s great news to people such as our friend CarolAnn Garratt who has been funding her own efforts to eliminate this disease since 2003.

CarolAnn has flown her single engine Mooney M20J around the world three times to raise awareness of and funding for research to find a cure for ALS.

Her first flight around the world was in 2003, the year after her mother died from the disease. The trip took seven months and CarolAnn began to tell the world about ALS and the need for a cure.

I first met CarolAnn about five years ago when she came to Houston to share highlights from her second around-the-world trip in 2008. She and co-pilot Carol Foy broke a world record, completing the 25,000 plus mile trek in eight and a half days - quite an accomplishment in a small single engine four-place airplane.

CarolAnn returned to Houston last week and it was great to see her again. This time she shared stories about her third trip, which she took in 2011-2012. This time she took her time to see places and people she had always wanted to see, like Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

With each trip she has written a book about her experiences titled Upon Silver Wings, Upon Silver Wings II, and Upon Silver Wings III. 100% of the proceeds from book sales go to ALS TDI, and CarolAnn funds all of her trips 100% herself.

Mike: It was particularly interesting to me as she was talking about some of the places I have been but from and entirely different pilot perspective.

She found that flying around Europe is very expensive as fuel can cost upwards of $13 per gallon, and she has to do a lot of pre-trip planning to reserve aviation (non-jet) fuel that is scarce in many parts of the world.

We’ll share some of her interesting stories here next week.

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