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Home > Running for a Reason: Two Families, One Mission Against ALS

Running for a Reason: Two Families, One Mission Against ALS

by | Jan 12, 2024

Houston, Texas- In the face of adversity, two families have emerged in the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The Kathmann/Patina Family and the Julien/Richter family share a common thread: both families have a sibling battling ALS. Their journey is not only a testament to family strength but also a voice in raising awareness and support.


Sally Kathmann and Mary Patina

Sally Kathmann is the 9th child out of 10 children who has embarked on a unique mission for her 55th birthday—running a half marathon. Her inspiration stems from her second oldest sister Mary, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2021. Mary, described by Sally as a firecracker, outgoing, and a jet-setter, has since faced the rapid progression of the disease, communicating through writing, and navigating the world via a special chair that helps her live more comfortably. Defying initial expectations from healthcare professionals, Mary acquired a test drug in 2023 which the family believes has helped in extending her life. Mary has immense love and support from her family as they spend a lot of time together, while her daughters assist in taking her to doctor visits and errands.

Sally encountered upon the Run for a Reason initiative with the ALS Association, a program in which runners enroll in a group to collectively raise money for ALS and to run for a purpose. This initiative transformed Sally’s solo journey into a collective force. She highlights the incredible impact of her friends and family, proving that people are willing to contribute when the cause is just. Despite some injuries, Sally remains fueled by the motivation to run for those who can’t and especially running on behalf of her sister, Mary.

Sally wants the public to understand the emotional rollercoaster experienced by ALS patients and their families. Providing support, understanding, and gaining knowledge about ALS, are crucial in helping a loved one navigate the challenges posed by this disease.


Craig and Brett Julien and Staci Richter

Siblings, Craig and Staci, found purpose through the Run for a Reason initiative with the ALS Association to honor their brother Brett, an avid runner and athlete diagnosed with ALS at 44 years old.

Brett, a father of 3, had an active lifestyle which included marathons, iron man’s, wake boarding and water skiing. His life was disrupted abruptly by the onset of ALS. Craig and Staci shared a preview of Brett’s commitment to his active lifestyle by describing on a past Thanksgiving, where everyone indulged in the Thanksgiving preparations while Brett partook in his pre-prepped meals. Despite the physical toll, Brett’s determination to live in the moment and enjoy life has become an inspiration for his siblings and family. Craig and Staci are participants in the event as runners, but also by using it as a platform to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. Their commitment to the cause extends beyond immediate family in reaching friends, former classmates, and acquaintances.

Craig and Staci encourage everyone which include current, new, and aspiring runners, to participate in Run for a Reason, emphasizing the power of collective action in spreading ALS awareness, support, and general understanding of the disease.

Through the Run for a Reason initiative, these families have not only raised funds for ALS research but also sparked conversations, have raised awareness within their circle and community, fostering understanding and education about the disease. Their journey is a call-to-action, inviting others to join the initiative, for a cause with purpose that unites us all.


Learn more about the Run for Reason. Help support the ALS Association with a donation, learn how to get involved, or visit upcoming events at  

How ALS Patients Can Help

Once you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, it’s easy to feel like you just don’t have many options, but there are ways you can make a difference.

How You Can Help People With ALS

We all have a part to play in the fight against ALS! Your generous support funds critical research for better treatments and a cure for this disease. Here are a few ways you can help: