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The ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Comprehensive Care Clinic at Stony Brook University Medical Center received a $50,000 grant from the ALS Association, Greater New York Chapter, made possible by "Ride For Life, Inc.," to expand its multi-faceted care for patients with the progressive neurolomuscular disorder, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Funding was provided through proceeds from "The Long Island Educators and Health Care Professionals Cup," an annual golf outing coordinated by "Ride for Life," the ALS fundraising organization started 10 years ago by 15-year ALS survivor Chris Pendergast of Miller Place. This year's golf outing was held on Columbus Day at Stonebridge Golf and Country Club in Smithtown.

The ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic at Stony Brook University Medical Center offers a multidisciplinary program of medical treatment, rehabilitation techniques, and psychological support. The clinic includes experts and care in areas such as neurology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, speech pathology, social work and nutrition. It is the only ALS treatment program on Long Island that provides same-site, multidisciplinary services for patients.

"Thanks to the generous support from Ride for Life, and the commitment of Stony Brook University Medical Center, we are able to provide hope and vital care to many people with ALS and their families specifically on Long Island," says Dorine Gordon, ALS Association President & CEO, Greater New York Chapter. "These efforts have helped us expand clinic hours and provide quality care by a superb multi-disciplinary team."

The concept for the Comprehensive Clinic at Stony Brook took shape in 2001 when Mr. Pendergast approached officials at the ALS Association, Greater New York Chapter, with the idea for the organization to support and help develop a Long-Island based comprehensive ALS treatment center. Pendergast envisioned that such a treatment facility would be a great convenience for area ALS patients, most of whom have mobility problems and would rather receive care closer to home than travel to Manhattan facilities for treatment and care.

"The care is a marked improvement over the judicial care usually given patients at non-center facilities," said Chris Pendergast. "Here we get all of our medical and support needs addressed by one focused team. The clinic has evolved our ALS care into the 21st century." Mr. Pendergast felt that Stony Brook University, with its institutional expertise in Neurology and research capabilities, was a logical choice for location, and with the support of the Greater New York Chapter, the ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic opened in 2002. At that time, recently recruited Rahman Pourmand, M.D., now Director of the SBU Neuromuscular Disease Center and ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic, began to develop a multidisciplinary treatment and support program for ALS patients. Mr. Pendergast was his first patient and Dr. Pourmand continues to manage his care today.

"Chris had a vision, and now that vision has become a reality and beacon of hope for patients in our area with ALS," says Dr. Pourmand, who indicates that the clinic has grown each year and currently cares for 30 to 40 patients.

The new funds will be used to help provide the full-range of services for patients treated at the clinic. To help facilitate these services on a more frequent basis, Theresa Donovan-Imperato, ALSA Nurse Coordinator now has a full time appointment at the Stony Brook clinic. Previously, she had split her time between the New York Chapter’s Manhattan location and the Stony Brook.

Ride for Life has become a major source of funds for the clinic and has raised approximately $2 million since its inception. Pendergast and members of the Ride for Life organization are organizing this year’s event, which is scheduled to kick-off from Montauk Point on May 4, 2008.
ALS  Comprehensive Care Clinic
Presenting a $50,000 check from the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association, Greater New York Chapter, to the Stony Brook University ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic, are, from left: Dorine Gordon, President and CEO, ALS Association, Greater New York Chapter; Rahman Pourmand, M.D., Director SBU ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic; Chris Pendergast, patient and founder of Ride for Life; Arlene Dayboch, Manager, Marketing & Development, Ride for Life; and Theresa Donovan-Imperato, R.N., Nurse Coordinator, ALS Comprehensive Care Clinic at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
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