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Christopher Pendergast

Christopher Pendergast (2020), ALS Ride for Life founder

by Kirk Fox

Christopher Pendergast helped start the annual ALS Ride for Life, which raises funds to find a cure, after his diagnosis with the disease. 

  • Died: Wednesday October 14, 2020 (Who else died on October 14?)
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 71 from ALS, his family confirmed to the Washington Post.
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ALS Awareness Advocate  

Christopher Pendergast was a driving force behind the annual ALS Ride for Life which raises funds to help find a cure for the disease. A teacher, Pendergast was diagnosed with ALS when he was in his 40s. In 1998 he led the first Ride for Life from Yankee Stadium. The annual ride would continue with Pendergast in his motorized wheelchair leading a group of ALS patients from Montauk in Long Island to New York City. The 118-mile journey received plenty of community support with many people joining the ride along the way. The ride has raised funds for many programs including the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence at Stony Brook University.  

On fighting the disease 

“There’s no doubt that being involved actively in fighting the disease in this form is life-lengthening. We can’t undergo chemotherapy or invasive types of surgical procedures to allow us to fight back against the disease, so we have a choice of laying down and doing nothing and allowing the disease to steamroll right over us, or to fight back with spirit and get involved. . . . That is our only medicine.”  —Pendergast in 2005, according to the Associated Press


What they said about him

Full Obituary: Washington Post

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