Jason Clement ALS Fund
Jason Clement grew up a passionate New England sports fan in Fall River, Massachusetts. He grew up playing basketball, football and street hockey, but baseball has always been his first love. Some of his earliest memories are playing baseball at Maplewood Park, playing stickball in his backyard and the Red Sox losing the 1975 World Series, not knowing it would take nearly 30 more years before they'd win it all in 2004.
Jason dreamed of being a pharmacist and owning his own store. He was accepted to the University of Rhode Island School of Pharmacy. During college, he worked for Douglas Drug, which was then acquired by Brooks Pharmacy and ultimately Rite Aid. It was during these retail pharmacy days that Jason realized he enjoyed the business side of pharmacy more than the clinical side. This lead Jason to leave the retail drug world and take a job in a small Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) in Wakefield, RI. During this time, Jason left the College of Pharmacy and instead earned his Business degree.
After eight years at the small PBM, Jason was offered and accepted a position at First Health Services in Richmond, VA. On January 1st 2002, he packed up all his belongings and drove 600 miles south to Richmond, where he knew absolutely no one.
In order to meet people, Jason joined the company volleyball team. While the team wasn't a success (1 win - 44 losses), the goal of meeting friends was a great success. It was within this network of new friends that Jason met his future wife, Deborah. She was nice enough to pluck him from his awful team and give him a spot on her roster, and in her heart.
Jason and Deborah were married in Las Vegas in 2007, surrounded by family and friends, including many from the volleyball community. They continued to play volleyball, sometimes together on co-ed teams, and sometimes independently on Men's or Women's teams. They have also become avid golfers through the years, with Jason and some close friends joining the Hollows Golf Club in 2014.
Jason and Deb also love to travel. They've visited more than a dozen baseball stadiums all over the country. They've been lucky enough to visit Aruba, as well as the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai. It's also very rare for a year to pass without meeting a group of friends in Las Vegas.
In April 2015, Jason began noticing problems with his speech and right hand which could not be explained. After many trips to various doctors and many tests, on Jason’s 44th birthday he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease of the motor neurons, the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement.
Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player for the New York Yankees. He played in more consecutive baseball games than any other player, until his record was broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., in 1995. For his efforts, Lou Gehrig was a symbol of indestructibility, which earned him the nickname "Iron Horse." On May 2, 1939, he pulled himself out of the lineup because he knew something was physically wrong. Within a few months, Mr. Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS. He died two years later. Mr. Gehrig's widow, Eleanor Gehrig, served for more than a decade as MDA National Campaign Chairman, searching for a way to fight the disease that had taken her husband's life.
It is estimated that 30,000 Americans are living with ALS at any one moment and that more than 1,000 of them live in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. We are working with the local ALSA and MDA chapters to raise awareness about ALS in an effort to educate people of this debilitating and life changing disease. It has been estimated that the care for ALS patients can cost more than $200,000 a year. The Jason Clement ALS Fund has been established to help Jason and Deborah with ALS expenses not covered by insurance.
Jason and Deb are keeping a very positive attitude. Jason is remaining as active as possible, and trying a number of alternative treatments that have showed promise in other ALS patients. While none of these are miracle cures, there is sufficient evidence to provide hope that these treatments, along with faith, and a positive outlook can keep Jason stable for hopefully a long time to come!
Jason and Deb have a tremendous network of friends and family, not only in Virginia and New England but around the country. The outpouring of support from this great network has been an inspiration for Jason and Deb as they navigate through this difficult journey. Jason and Deb couldn't get through this alone, so THANK YOU for all your continued support!