Byline: Submitted by Les Turner ALS Foundation
On Saturdays, May 7 and 14, dozens of volunteers wearing yellow aprons and holding collection cans will be stationed in front of local stores as part of the Les Turner ALS Foundations annual Tag Days drive.
Suzanne Heronemus of Batavia and Vicki Flahaven of Aurora are spearheading the local effort, and have recruited students from Batavia High Schools drama club as well as longtime supporters of the Les Turner ALS Foundation, friends and relatives.
A true grass-roots campaign, Tag Days helps increase awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrigs disease) and also raises funds to support medical research, patient services and educational activities. The local Tag Days captains are aiming to raise more than $1,000 through this effort, which is one of nearly 40 community donation drives in the Chicago area.
Flahaven has been organizing Tag Days drives for more than a decade. For several years, while living in Oak Park, she coordinated the fundraising activities there, and after moving to Fox Valley in 2002, she began organizing the donation drives in St. Charles and Geneva. This year, with help from Suzanne Heronemus, they approached Batavias community leaders about holding a donation drive there on May 14.
Volunteers commit to a two-hour shift and will be assigned to locations such as the U.S. Post Office, Starbucks and Ace Hardware in Geneva; Walgreens and Ace Hardware in Batavia; and Jewel, Starbucks, Butera and Blue Goose Market in St. Charles.
Each person who contributes to the cause will receive a "tag" (Lou Gehrig baseball card) that features information about ALS and the ways to get involved with the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
In addition, volunteers will be distributing fliers for Les Turner ALS Foundation Day at Panera Bread, 154 W. Wilson, Batavia. Panera Bread will donate a percentage of sales on May 14 to the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
Also, Four Beans Coffeehouse in Batavia will be running a special promotion to benefit the Les Turner Foundation on May 14, and Egg Harbor Cafe in Geneva is currently planning a fundraiser.
Experienced fundraisers, Flahaven and Heronemus are personally motivated to make a difference in the ALS community. In May 1994, Flahavens father became concerned about the weakness in his hands and sought advice from a neurologist at Northwesterns Feinberg School of Medicine. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with ALS. His health quickly declined and he died from the disease while living in Florida in August 1994. …