In this episode I catch up with Cheryl & Mike Smith, a hop farming family who created Ales for ALS to raise funds and awareness for ALS.
Listen in as I catch up with Mike and Cheryl Smith who created Ales for ALS, a program that has raised over $3,500,000 for ALS research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). Mike and Cheryl own Loftus Ranches, a fourth-generation hop farm in Washington’s Yakima Valley. Cheryl has lost 9 relatives to ALS, including her grandfather and father. Along the way, they've learned that her family carries a gene that causes ALS and they have dedicated themselves to fighting the disease through their Ales for ALS program. Each year the Smiths work with hop supplier Yakima Chief Hops to donate a unique hop blend to participating brewers. Local brewers can brew whatever style of beer they want. Ales for ALS brewers are asked to donate $1 to ALS TDI for each pint of the resulting Ales for ALS brew sold. The funds raised go directly to ALS TDI's research lab, where their research team works to discover and develop potential treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that slowly robs people of their ability to walk, talk, and even breathe. There are few effective treatments and no known prevention or cure. Ales for ALS goes full-circle, from the Smiths’ hop fields to craft beer lovers’ glasses across the country. Their commitment and generousity inspire me. Thanks for listening.