Remarks to the ALS Association Celebration of Excellence Breakfast

*** As Prepared for Delivery ***

"Good morning and thank you to the ALS Association for putting together today's event. I'm humbled to be in your  company this morning to accept this award on behalf of all the good work you all have done. So together today, we celebrate our huge victory on passage of the ALS Registry Act.

"For those of us in this room with ALS, who care for a loved one with ALS, and to those we've lost to ALS, I personally want to thank you for your work in helping us pass the ALS Registry Act. It wasn't easy, we had a tough fight, but in the end, because of your efforts and perseverance, we charged ahead and enacted into law, legislation that will establish a national registry that will help us find a treatment and a cure for ALS. I want to recognize my cousin Jenny Dwyer, and her efforts on behalf of her husband who suffers from ALS. Shortly before Christmas in 2007, she wrote a letter to me about her husband's everyday difficulties and challenges as someone fighting ALS. This letter inspired me to share it with all my colleagues in the Senate, for them to understand the need for an ALS registry. I know her dedication to the cause was instrumental, and I know there are many others of you have who have shared similar stories with Members of Congress that motivated 411 House Members and a unanimous Senate to pass this bill.

"Although it has been 70 years since Lou Gehrig's diagnosis and we are still without a cure, we must stay focused for the nearly 6,000 Americans diagnosed with ALS every year and for those we have lost to this vicious disease. While the National Institutes of Health must continue to research ALS, in the interim, we can facilitate these efforts through a national registry that will lead to a treatment and a cure for ALS.

"And we hear more good news - in February of this year, scientists announced the historic discovery of a new gene responsible for the development of ALS.  This is one of the most significant discoveries that will provide important clues to the causes of ALS. To improve on this research, we now have a national ALS registry which will help us advance this and other breakthrough discoveries with ALS.

"I thank you all for being here today to share in this celebratory event and I want to continue working with you all on our continuing mission to find a cure for ALS.

"Thank you."

# # #