Moniers go to bat with Lou Gehrig to continue fight against ALS

The Monier family, including Tami (from left), Don, and Hillary (Monier) Childs met with Brian and Sandra Wallach, founders of “I AM ALS”, at Wrigley Field on June 15 when the Cubs celebrated Lou Gehrig Day.

The Moniers took their fight to Wrigley Field this year to help in their battle against ALS.

Major League Baseball celebrated it’s 3rd annual Lou Gehrig Day on June 2. That is the anniversary of Gehrig’s first start as a Yankee in 1923 and the day of his death in 1941. He was diagnosed in 1939 with ALS and passed two years later, the disease named after him.

Sadly, there is still no cure.

The fight against ALS is very personal to Brad Monier and his three siblings, Hillary, Kristie and Jordan, who took over as co-directors for their hometown Walnut 5K for ALS since 2021.

They have lost 22 family members to the killer disease, including their mom, Jan, their No. 1 fan, on Jan. 24, 2013, less than a week before her second grandchild was born.

Since the Cubs were on a road trip June 2, the Cubs celebrated Lou Gehrig Day on Thursday, June 15. The Moniers attended the game and met with Brian Wallach, a heavy hitter against ALS, who along with his wife, Sandra, are the founders of “I AM ALS” and celebrities in the ALS community.

“They’ve changed the way ALS is funded helping push the research side of it. They’ve spoken in front of Congress for Social Security and drug approvals for ALS,” Brad Monier said. “In the last year we’ve gone from two FDA approved drugs to four. This spring they’ve helped get accelerated FDA approval for ALS treatments. Every 4.4 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS and every 4.4 minutes someone dies with ALS. 90% of people diagnosed have no family history of ALS.”

The Cubs have their own connection to ALS and the Monier’s fight against it. Jon “Boog” Sciambi, the Cubs play-by-play man, helps lead Project Main Street which raises funds for ALS.

“Sciambi had a childhood friend that passed from ALS, so that is why he is such a big supporter. Sciambi even donated to our Walnut 5K Run/Walk for ALS in 2021. So that is our claim to fame,” Monier said.

The Walnut 5K for ALS raised $24,212.53 last year and has raised $123,854.53 since 2011.

“We can’t thank the community enough,” Brad said.

This year’s Walnut 5K for ALS will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 1, in front of the Bureau Valley Elementary Walnut Campus at 323 South Main Street. Walkers are encouraged to participate. Entry fee costs $20 and includes a T-shirt if received by Friday, June 23.

Checks made payable to Running Through ALS LTD may be sent to Running Through ALS LTD, PO Box 141, Walnut, Ill. 61376. For information, contact or 815-303-9348.

This is a great cause to support. Even if you don’t run, or want to walk, you can donate to help them find a cure.

History of Bureau County basketball: Area hoops fans will want to mark their calendars for the History of Bureau County basketball presentation, sponsored by the Basketball Museum of Illinois, at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, July 15 at the Mineral Methodist Church. Admission is free, but donations to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s Basketball Museum, located in suburban Bedford Park, are welcome.

Featured speakers include Dave Nanninga of the Illinois High School Glory Days website, Hall of Fame Coaches Brad Bickett (Western/Bureau Valley/Rock Falls) and Chuck Blake (Atkinson/Neponset/Wethersfield/Kewanee) and Annawan girls coaches Jason Burkiewicz and Val (Wancket) Van Hyfte.

Taylor made: Many thanks to Carol Taylor, who has provided the media with all of the Three Rivers All-Conference teams information as conference secretary since 2000, when she retired as principal at Erie High School. Her emails have been like clockwork over the years. She is stepping down after 23 years and will be missed by all of us in the media. Thank you, Carol.

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at