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Noted Chef Robert Irvine to present inaugural Walk Hero Award to Veteran with ALS at Golden West Central Valley Walk to Defeat ALS®

Eric Amador

This year, The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is debuting its Central Valley Walk Hero Award with its inaugural honoree, Senior Chief Eric Amador, at the 15th annual Central Valley Walk to Defeat ALS. The Walk Hero Award recognizes those who are making courageous and inspirational efforts in advocacy, fundraising, and public awareness while living with ALS.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS does not discriminate — women and men of all ages and backgrounds are at risk, though for unknown reasons, veterans are diagnosed with ALS twice as often as civilians. People with ALS lose their ability to move, speak, swallow, and eventually the ability to breathe while all five senses continue to function normally. At this time, there is no known cure.

Prior to his diagnosis of ALS in October 2014, Eric served as Executive Chef and Enlisted Aide for the United States Navy and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. He served a Security Chef for President George H W Bush and Barack Obama from 2004-2009 and Executive Chef/Enlisted Aide for the Director of National Security 2012-15. Most recently, Eric was a special guest speaker at the Stanford University’s Medicine X, a unique initiative about emerging technologies to advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. His wife, children, and dedicated family and friends have been active in the Golden West Chapter and the Central Valley Walk, as well as tireless advocates for treatment and a cure. Their Walk Team, “Eric Amador Presidential Chef,” has raised over $6,750.00 in the fight against ALS and has been repeatedly celebrated as one of the Top Fundraising teams at the Central Valley Walk. “Having family and friends during this journey makes it so much easier,” said Eric. “Having ALS has strengthened my faith and helped me to enjoy the simple things in life. The ALS Association Golden West Chapter has given me the tools, resources, and education to understand this disease and maintain my quality of life.”

Presenting the Walk Hero Award will be Eric’s longtime friend, Chef Robert Irvine of the Food Network’s highest-rated shows, Restaurant: Impossible, Dinner: Impossible, and Worst Cooks in America. He has authored several books and is currently on tour with his new, interactive live show, Robert Irvine Live, and appears regularly as an expert guest on national morning and daytime talk shows. He was recently designated as Honorary Chief Petty Officer by the U.S. Navy for his dedication to the armed services, and later the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment and Support of our Service Members by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Irvine recently became the first celebrity chef to open a restaurant at the Pentagon. In keeping with Chef Irvine’s commitment to public service, he and his culinary team will provide a special lunch to all registered Walkers.

“It is only together that we will defeat ALS, and there is no better example of dedication and determination in the fight against ALS than that which we see from Eric, his family and friends, and the ALS community in the Central Valley,” said Fred Fisher, President and CEO of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. “Eric’s efforts to increase awareness and help secure the resources necessary to advance our free local care services and global research programs is nothing short of amazing.”

The 15th annual Central Valley Walk to Defeat ALS® will be held on Sunday, October 30, 2016 at Woodward Park, 7775 N Friant Rd, Fresno, CA 93720. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. with special opening ceremonies beginning at 10:15 a.m. and will feature special guest speakers Chef Robert Irvine and Robert Blum, President and CEO of Cytokinetics, along with the presentation of the 2016 Walk Hero Award. At 11:00 a.m., the 1.9-mile Walk will start in front of The Mountain View Shelter at Woodward Park. The event is open to the public, and all funds raised support the mission of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in care services, public policy, and research. This year’s goal is to raise $55,000 to advance the search for effective treatments and a cure for ALS and to serve the diverse, intense needs of the ALS community.

About The ALS Association and The Golden West Chapter:

The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. We are a member of the National Health Council and the only National organization solely dedicated to fighting ALS on all fronts while directly serving the ALS community. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. The Golden West Chapter serves more than 1,400 people with ALS and their families in the state of Hawaii and in 31 counties throughout California. For more information about ALS please visit Walkers can register for the 2016 Central Valley Walk to Defeat ALS at For more information about sponsoring, covering, or attending the event, please contact Tammy Galt, Community Outreach Coordinator at or (559) 285-0074.

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