In late 2018, Midway Volunteer Fire Company’s Steven Cronin was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Firefighters Fighting ALS (www.ffals.org) held its first Beef and Beer Fundraiser. The event, which drew twice the expected turnout, was attended by 320 friends, family, and community members. The proceeds will be used to help defray the substantial costs of treatment, assistive technology, and home modifications so Cronin as well as other area firefighters can continue to live comfortably in their own homes.
Once Cronin’s friends within and outside the fire company learned of the diagnosis, a group of friends and family formed a charitable organization. The purpose of this organization is to raise funds to support medical bills associated with the disease and raise awareness of ALS.
The charitable organization is lead by Mark Matakonis and Mike Steletto. Cronin, Matakonis and Steletto have been fighting fires together on the same engine crew for almost 20 years. Over the past two decades, their friendship grew along with their families. They are always together, be it at the firehouse, on the sidelines of their kids’ sporting events, or on someone’s deck enjoying time with family and friends.
“When we found out Steve had been diagnosed with ALS, the decision to fight this disease as a team was obvious,” said Matakonis. “In firefighting, we go in together as one, and we come out together as one every time. This fight was going to be no different.” Additionally, speaking for Cronin, he stated, “It is Steve’s vision that the organization will outlive his fight and continue to help other firefighters.”
“We formed Firefighters Fighting ALS to raise funds to help firefighters with ALS defray the substantial costs of treatment, assistive technology, and home modifications so they can continue to live comfortably in their own homes,” Steletto said.
“A study quoted in ALS News Today (alsnewstoday.com
), reported that, according to an article from firechief.com
, a 2010 study of death certificates from 24 states found that firefighters were twice as likely to die from ALS than those not working in the service.”
To become involved, provide sponsorship, make a donation or learn of upcoming events, visit the Firefighters Fighting ALS at ffals.org
. To make a donation, mail a check payable to Firefighters Fighting ALS to P.O. Box 373, Mechanicsville Pa. 18934.