Despite a beautiful day for exercise, the Scott Mackler Memorial 5K Run/Walk fell slightly short of expectations for this annual event that is now in its 23rd year. On November 5, 2023, a smaller than usual turn-out enthusiastically completed the course in this event to defeat ALS.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative affliction that leads to paralysis due to the degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is presently no cure.

Scott Mackler, Beta Pi ’77, a medical doctor and brilliant scientist, contracted ALS while doing research at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine to find a cure for cocaine addiction. He valiantly fought the effects of ALS for many years. During this time, he was able to continue his employment due to the existence of advanced technology that provided the tools and devices enabling him to continue his research. Prior to his unfortunate demise, Scott was featured on the 60 Minutes television program highlighting the technical advances that had been made to ease the pain, discomfort, and inability to communicate for people living with ALS, a highly debilitating disease.

Among the assistive technology devices presently available through ALS Philadelphia are remote door chimes to call for help, control units that provide hands-free access to electrical devices, electronic devices that enable ALS sufferers to read books, communication devices that convey messages, and computers with voice output and the ability to access the internet.

The Mackler 5K was created by Scott Mackler, Scott’s brother, Harvey Mackler, Beta Pi ’72, and the entire Mackler family. Harvey has personally planned, organized, and managed every running of this “Race against ALS” that is now in its 23rd year. Scott’s sons, Alexander and Noah, have devotedly and successfully assumed management of the event. Over these years, nearly $3,000,000 has been raised by the Mackler 5K. Harvey and Scott’s sons ensure that every dollar raised is given to ALS United Mid-Atlantic (formerly known as ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia) to provide the assistive devices needed by sufferers of ALS.

Thanks to the generous donations of a group of Beta Pi alumni, the Beta Pi team contributed $1300 to the approximate $65,000 total from all contributors. Beta Pi donors were:

Joel Catania ’71                                              Jerome Goldberg ’74                                    Morty Cohen ‘65

Harvey Mackler ’72                                      Paul Zaentz ’69                                               Joey Cohen ‘02

Ron Perilstein ‘77

 An additional Pi Kappa Alpha donation was made by Robert Tkachick, Delta Eta, University of Delaware.