ALS fundraiser for local Harborite set for Friday

The event will feature an auction, live music, and promote awareness

Many people know ALS as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous baseball player who got the illness and had to retire in 1939 because of it. ALS is a disease that affects the nerve cells that make muscles work in both the upper and lower parts of the body.

This disease makes the nerve cells stop working and die. The nerves lose the ability to trigger specific muscles, which causes the muscles to become weak and leads to paralysis. On average 5,000 new patients are diagnosed every year with this disease. In April 2022, Brenda Vail was one of those 5,000.

Vail, a former Grays Harbor County public health worker, was diagnosed with ALS after months of numerous tests to address body pain. To help with the financial burden of medical examinations and life adjustments, Vail’s friend and former public health coworker, Natali Burgess, helped set up the idea of a fundraiser.

“This is obviously a very hard time for Brenda, her husband Todd and her family altogether. We just want to be supportive and help in any way we can,” Burgess said. “With projects like making their bathroom accessible for Brenda and helping with medical bills, we would love to try and raise around $20,000.”

According to Burgess, the fundraiser is set to feature a live auction, live music from local bands and a spaghetti dinner. She said that while the fundraiser is primarily to help Vail’s battle with ALS, it will also serve as an opportunity to bring awareness to the uncurable disease.

“The event is going to be emotional for sure, but we also want to have fun and see the community gather to support a great woman and a great family going through something tragic,” Burgess said.

Contact Reporter Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or

If you want to go:

For people who are interested in attending the Brenda Vail Fundraiser, the event will be held on Friday, March 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Immanuel Baptist Church, in Hoquiam. Tickets are $20 per person and more information can be obtained by contacting Burgess at 714-227-3162.

People who wish to donate but cannot come to the event are encouraged to contribute to a GoFundMe account labeled Brenda’s Fight against ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s).