Lou Gehrig's disease

Football Inspires Highland Park 7th Graders to Start ALS Fundraising Campaign

The group of suburban Chicago students created their own touchdown dance and posted it on Instagram, asking others to do the same and make a donation.

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A book club launched by a group of football-loving 7th graders to pass the time during the coronavirus pandemic has led to a major fundraising and social media campaign for ALS.

The first book they read, naturally, was football-related: “Football Genius” by former NFL defensive end Tim Green, who is battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“We started reading his book, and then my friends and I, and our parents, decided we should do a donation to help fight ALS,” said 11-year-old Evan Mintzer of Highland Park. 

Mintzer's dad had met Green during a job interview, so he arranged for the students to talk to him via Zoom.

They were all impressed with Green, especially the way he is handling his disease, so they created a Touchdowns for Tim Green fundraiser to benefit ALS research.

“We always play football on Tuesdays and we celebrate our touchdowns, and we thought it would be fun to use that with our Tim Green project,” said 12-year-old Asher Blitz.

They created their own touchdown dance and posted it on Instagram, asking others to do the same and make a donation.

“All my friends and family have been donating," said 13-year-old Konner Sayer. "Some people who aren’t our friends have been donating, so that’s fun to see.".

The Highland Park 7th graders also learned some important lessons.

"Well, we learned how fortunate we are that we have such a nice community and people would help and donate," said 12-year-old Jarrod Cohen. "We also learned how [Green] can really fight and do anything to stay positive.”

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