Nonprofit sells pickles to help raise money for ALS research
WEST ORANGE, N.J. — A man with Lou Gehrig’s disease is using his passion for making pickles to help fight for a cure.
Arthur Cohen was diagnosed with the disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, three years ago at age 58.
WABC-TV reports despite losing the ability to walk and talk he’s raised $200,000 for ALS research by selling pickles through his nonprofit, Pickals, spelled P-I-C-K-A-L-S.
“Pickals is my silver lining,” Cohen said, using a text-to-speech program on his computer. “It’s given purpose to my second act. I’m so lucky to be able to do this.”
Cohen first made pickles in his Maplewood kitchen but moved the operation to a local factory when demand rose. His friend David Sirianni said people started selling the pickles in their stores.
“The money then started going to make other people’s lives better,” Sirianni said.
There’s no known cure for the disease, and most people die within a few years of being diagnosed.
The disease is named for New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, a famously durable first baseman who played in 2,130 consecutive games and earned the nickname The Iron Horse.
Gehrig retired from baseball after his diagnosis at age 36. In his farewell speech, he acknowledged his disease as a “bad break” but declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He died two years later, in 1941.
Cohen said it’s time to find a cure.
“It’s been over 75 years since Lou Gehrig’s speech,” Cohen said. “This has got to stop. If it means bringing the world bad breath with my pickles, so be it.”