Kickball for a cause

Shane Classey leads off for team Kickin' Yours during the second annual Susie Classic Aug. 9 at the Pent Road Recreation Complex in Beacon Falls. The kickball tournament was held to raise money for the Susie Foundation, a Beacon Falls-based nonprofit organization the helps families living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. –PATRICK BURSEY

Shane Classey leads off for team Kickin’ Yours during the second annual Susie Classic Aug. 9 at the Pent Road Recreation Complex in Beacon Falls. The kickball tournament was held to raise money for the Susie Foundation, a Beacon Falls-based nonprofit organization the helps families living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. –PATRICK BURSEY

BEACON FALLS — The Susie Foundation took over the Pent Road Recreation Complex Aug. 9 to help those affected by a deadly disease.

The Beacon Falls-based nonprofit organization hosted its second annual Susie Classic kickball fundraiser to help raise funds and awareness for those living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Over 160 kickball players and 20 foundation volunteers filled the complex’s five baseball fields.

“You never know how the community will respond,” Susie Foundation founder and Executive Director Ryan Mathews said. “We have teams as far away as Boston.”

The foundation was founded in honor Mathew’s mother, Susan (Ready) Matthews, who lived in Beacon Falls with her family. Susan Matthews was diagnosed with ALS in November 2009. She died two years later at the age of 57.

“We were in a tough situation,” said Ryan Mathews’ father, Neil Mathews.

The first Susie Classic last year raised more than $3,600 for the foundation. All the funds raised by the tournament will help the quality of living of those with ALS, Ryan Matthews said.

For Aaron Smith, a new Susie Foundation board member, Saturday’s event was his first fundraiser for the organization.

“We want to make the lives of those impacted with ALS easier,” Smith said. “It’s really nice to see people from the community come out for a great cause.”

Smith credited Ryan Matthews with making the event a success, adding that most of the volunteer and event awareness is spread through word of mouth.

“Ryan does a great job,” Smith said.

ALS attacks brain neurons and the spinal cord causing muscles weakness, paralysis, and eventual death.

“There is no cure,” Ryan Mathews said.

According to the foundation, approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS in America each year. The foundation is working to bring that figure to zero. “The Susie Foundation is fighting for a future free of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),”reads the foundation’s mission statement on its website.

For more information on the Susie Foundation, visit thesusiefoundation.org or email thesusiefoundation@gmail.com.

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