FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Airlines this year will begin a multi-year financial commitment of $1 million to the Answer ALS research project through the Answer ALS Foundation. The research project will build the most comprehensive clinical, genetic, molecular and biochemical assessment of ALS.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it.
“With more than 100,000 employees at American, statistically several of our team members or their family members will receive an ALS diagnosis. Most recently, Vice President, Finance Peter Warlick disclosed his personal battle with ALS. Since receiving his diagnosis, Peter has become a champion for all American employees fighting this disease by exploring the current state of research available to those afflicted with ALS, and determining more can be done,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines. “We are proud to partner with Peter and Answer ALS on behalf of all American employees who are suffering from ALS. Similar to American’s support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, we believe there is a real opportunity to bring attention to orphan diseases like ALS that require additional awareness and fundraising support in order to bring them to an end.”
Through this partnership, American Airlines employees and their families will be able to participate in the Answer ALS research project. They will have the opportunity to meet with the top ALS experts at one of the six designated program locations, providing them access to the top researchers and clinicians in the ALS community.
American is also partnering with the Answer ALS Foundation to assist employees and their dependents with navigation of the disease, expert clinic referrals, resources for Medicare benefit information, new assistive technologies such as voice banking and more.
In addition, Warlick is launching a fundraising effort – “Warlick’s Warriors” – to help support the Answer ALS research efforts. Donations made through Warlick’s Warriors (www.warlickswarriors.org) will be matched by American Airlines up to $250,000. One hundred percent of the funds donated will go directly to the Answer ALS research project.
“When I was diagnosed last year, two of the goals I set were to change the outcome for future ALS patients and support my American Airlines colleagues,” said Peter Warlick. “This research, and the progress that will result in the coming years, while likely not helpful to me, will benefit those who are diagnosed with ALS in the future. Answer ALS, with its use of groundbreaking technology and multi-institutional collaboration, provides the best opportunity to reach this goal. I am extraordinarily grateful that American Airlines is supporting this broad effort and joining me in this aggressive fight.”
The Answer ALS project involves 1,000 patients and nearly two dozen research entities at leading institutions, making it the largest ALS research effort ever undertaken. There are six clinical sites for the project: Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington University, Ohio State University, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
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