My name is Sarah Martin. I am a junior neuroscience major at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. When I was a sophomore at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, my principal, Dr. Eric McLaren, was diagnosed with ALS/MND. After watching him courageously battle the first stages of the disease, I became passionate about defeating ALS/MND.
Since his diagnosis in 2010, I have worked closely with the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, Les Turner ALS Foundation, and ALS Association Iowa Chapter to help raise awareness of the disease and increase funding for research.
I have conducted ALS/MND research at universities in Chicago and speak to middle schools, high schools, and college classes about the disease. I attend support groups in Illinois to meet people with ALS/MND and learn about the struggles they face every day. I am currently building an assistive device that allows people living with the disease to experience a safer shower and have a partnership with the Iowa Delta chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Drake University. I have completed a half marathon and 8K to raise money for research, created scrapbooks for ALS/MND families, and much more.
I supported my friend, hero, and former principal every day until he lost his courageous battle with the disease on June 6th, 2014. My plans for the future include earning a doctorate degree and continuing my scientific research to help develop an effective treatment and, ultimately, a cure for ALS/MND.
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