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Community Gathers for the 2023 Kern County Walk to Defeat ALS® Kickoff and Movie Night,
Featuring a Special Screening of a PBS Documentary Featuring Charlie Wren


The Golden West Chapter will host the Kern County Walk to Defeat ALS Kickoff and Movie Night on Thursday, July 20, 2023 at Studio Movie Grill in Bakersfield. The Kickoff event will include a red carpet event at 5:00 PM, and then a special screening at 5:30 PM of the PBS documentary, “Matter of Mind: My ALS”, featuring local residents, Charlie and Angie Wren. The film features three different people with ALS, who share their experiences with the progressively debilitating illness.

“It’s been over a century since the first diagnosis of ALS, and yet we still have more questions than answers in the current understanding of this disease,” Director Anna Moot-Levin said. “The opportunity to broadcast our film on INDEPENDENT LENS means welcoming audiences to the experiences of those living with this disease, and hopefully, to feel empowered to fight for answers and a cure. We learned so much about what it means to live a joyful and meaningful life, from the people who we had the tremendous privilege of making this film with.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis. People with ALS lose their ability to move, speak, swallow and eventually, to breathe, while all five senses continue to function normally. ALS knows no racial, gender, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. Those who have served in the military and veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. At this time, there are no known cures for ALS.

“It is extremely important that the public gets involved in the fight against ALS. Education, research, money, and time will determine when there is a cure to ALS,” said Charlie Wren. “Events like the Walk to Defeat ALS raise awareness, money for research, and brings the community together to support their family member, their friend, or their neighbor who has ALS”

The Kern County Walk to Defeat ALS plays an important role in the Golden West Chapter’s efforts to increase direct services and support to those living with the disease, their families, and caregivers throughout the Kern County area. This proactive model of care is provided at no charge, is proven to extend length and quality of life for those living with ALS, and is designed to advance the search for treatments and cures. 

“Because of the funds and awareness we raise through the Walk to Defeat ALS, we are able to ensure the ALS community is well-supported by our wraparound model of care,” said Asher Garfinkel, Vice President of Community Outreach. “Throughout the year, we partner with families, researchers, clinicians, the government, corporations, other organizations, and the media to raise ALS awareness and support. The Walk to Defeat ALS anchors and helps to power these collaborative efforts.”

For more information about ALS and how you can help, please visit For additional details about the Kern County Walk Kickoff, please visit You can also contact Tammy Galt, Director of Community Outreach, Central California at

About The ALS Association Golden West Chapter

The mission of the Golden West Chapter of The ALS Association is to discover treatments and cures for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. The Golden West Chapter serves people with ALS and their families in the entire state of Hawaii and 31 California counties. Everything we do advances the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS. The Golden West Chapter is proud to have earned a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator – for the ninth consecutive year! This is the highest rating possible in recognition of our ongoing commitment to sound fiscal management, accountability and transparency. Only 5% of the charitable organizations rated receive this exceptional distinction four or more years in a row.



Anna Moot-Levin is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer, and editor with a passion for stories about health and healthcare. Her debut documentary, “The Providers,” aired on PBS’s INDEPENDENT LENS in 2019. She is also an associate producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Inside Job” (2010). She is based in Brooklyn.


Laura Green is an award-winning documentary director and editor based in San Francisco. Her debut documentary, “The Providers,” aired on INDEPENDENT LENS in 2019. She edited “When I Write It,” which premiered at Tribeca in 2020, and the IDA award-nominated web-series “The F-Word.” She is an assistant professor at San Francisco State University.


David Alvarado is a documentary director and producer focusing on science, technology, and human rights. His new project is about a legendary Chicano playwright and filmmaker, Luis Valdez.


Jason Sussberg is a Bay Area-based documentary filmmaker. He has produced and directed several theatrical documentaries that have broadcast on PBS and streamed on Netflix and Amazon. His work includes “The Immortalists” (2014), “Bill Nye: Science Guy” (2017), and “We Are As Gods” (2021).


INDEPENDENT LENS is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly PBS series that features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens. 

About ITVS  

ITVS is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that funds and partners with a diverse range of documentary filmmakers to produce and distribute untold stories. ITVS incubates and co-produces these award-winning films and then airs them for free on PBS via our weekly series, INDEPENDENT LENS, as well as on other platforms. For more information, visit

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