Nov. 12, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - For the second straight year, the Fresno State softball team recently took part in one of the area's most inspirational fall events - the Central Valley Walk to Defeat ALS.
Many of the team members were already familiar with the event after they joined head coach Trisha Ford and junior Taylor Green in last year's event - an event very personal to the catcher from Chino Hills, Calif.
Green's father, Steve, was diagnosed with ALS in 2003 and has been fighting the disease for the past decade.
Also referred to as Lou Gerhig's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement, and causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body.
"It's been a rocky road, but he's doing better than last year," Green said. "The coaches and softball team are like a family to me, and having them participate in the walk was really special. I'm fortunate to have had him around for 10 years and hopefully for 10 more years."
Besides helping boost awareness to the cause, the Bulldogs helped raise nearly $1,000 for the local chapter and were among 400 participants at the walk on October 26 at Copper River Ranch - nearly double last year's total (250).
"We always want to be active in the community," Ford said, "and this is an important event in many ways. It was good for our players to support a cause near and dear to us and get a closer glimpse into these families' lives. Have some of the players' families participate and being able to raise money made it even more special."
Green is deeply appreciative of how important her mom has been in helping her father and family remain strong. She provides daily care for her father and helps coordinate the family's travel to Bulldog home games where they sit along the third-base line.
"My mom is so awesome," Green said. "She has to deal with a lot as the head of the family, and her time management is amazing. She's taught me to be a strong person and believe that everything in life happens for a reason. My dad coached me from T-ball until club ball, so still having them there in the stands means a lot, and he always gives me a wink when I'm on the field."
Green chose kinesiology and exercise science as a major so that she can make a difference in others' lives as a career. With an interest in cardiovascular or respiratory therapy, she knows she can help others both physically and emotionally.
"When you walk into a hospital it's usually not a good thing so I want to be able to help," Green said. "(When I give advice to others) I tell them it's not going to be easy, and there will be bumps in the road. However, there's also stuff to look forward to. Helping people around you is what really matters, and showing that you can still make positive changes in others' lives."
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