Charity van stolen, but that won't stop Walk to Defeat ALS

Charity van stolen, but that won't stop Walk to Defeat ALS »Play Video
Coach Jeff Young, who has ALS, has an inspirational speech each Wednesday - even if he can't read it himself - for football players at Lake Oswego High School.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – In the next two weeks, the ALS Association will put on the two largest fundraisers of the year, but their van full of supplies was just stolen.

A thief stole the van right out of an employee's driveway.

It was full of supplies like T-shirts, pop-up tents and banners with the faces of people who have lost their lives to ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Organizers want the van back. But no matter what, the benefit walks will happen the next two weekends.

At one of those events, the Lake Oswego High School football team has joined The Walk to Defeat ALS to raise money for those with the disease like their coach, Jeff Young, who was told he had five years to live. That was 30 years ago.
 
Every Wednesday for 10 years Young has had a speech. He won't always read it himself, the effects of ALS make it tough to understand him, but his message could not come from anyone more qualified to give it. And the impact from those few minutes will last much longer.

"He's one of my biggest idols," says Charlie Callen, a Lake Oswego High School senior and football player. "I've played on the football team for three years now, and I always look forward to Wednesdays just to hear his speech."

As for Young, "When I first started coaching, it was more about getting back into the game. Now, it's all about the relationships," he says.

Young has fought to keep the relationships going and to stay alive, and now his football players and others in the student body will fight for him, too, during the walk that will not only raise money, but also awareness.

"It's a disease that until recently has slipped through the cracks," Young says.

The players will teach others about the deadly disease impacting the man who has taught them so much every Wednesday.

The van that was stolen was a white 2013 Ford cargo van with an Oregon license plate, 513 GDS. It is similar to the one shown below. Call the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office if you spot it.


This report started with a news tip from one of the organizers. If something happened you feel we should know about, email us at newstips@katu.com.