Barrington High student leading team in memory of dad in ALS Walk for Life
Barrington High School junior Aubrey Launer will debut as Saturday as captain of a team walking in memory of her late father and raising money for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
Paul Launer was 49 when he died from ALS in 2015. An avid sportsman who played hockey and tennis, along with getting into scuba diving, skiing and snowboarding, he was co-captain of Paul Launer's Iron Horse Brigade team in the ALS Walk for Life to benefit the Turner foundation.
Two years after he was diagnosed with ALS, Launer formed the team in 2013 with support from his wife, Kris, daughters Aubrey and Sarah, and others. The first squad attracted about 175 participants and raised $77,000 for the foundation.
Now 16, Aubrey is ready to lead the team in Saturday's ALS Walk for Life at Soldier Field. The North Barrington resident wanted to be captain even before her father died.
"My dad was my favorite person in the world," Aubrey said. "Nothing could bring his spirit down. He was my soccer coach for many years, and even after he got sick and started to lose his voice, he stayed involved by recruiting a co-coach who would speak louder for him."
The Foglia Family Foundation will match up to $50,000 raised by Paul Launer's Iron Horse Brigade.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neuromuscular disease without prevention or cure.
Organizers expect about 7,000 people to participate in the ALS Walk for Life, an annual event that began in 2002. The 2-mile course runs along Chicago's lakefront and through Soldier Field.