Team Dallas supports friend, fight vs. ALS
Last updated 10/20/2020 at 8:34pm
Talk about a team effort.
When Tony Dallas' friends found out he had ALS last year, more than 100 people quickly signed up to join him in The Woodlands for the 2019 "Walk to Defeat ALS."
"We raised $10,000 in two weeks. This year, we decided to have a walk over here," said daughter Leigh Anne Dallas.
"This year, Dad set the goal at $13,000 because his college number was 13. We raised $13,000 in six days. Now we've raised over $38,000 as of today, and our new goal is $50,000.
"If anybody can do it, we can."
All funds raised, she said, go directly to the ALS Association for research and funding for patients.
Tony Dallas, a lifelong Orange resident and owner of two local insurance agencies, first noticed symptoms over the Thanksgiving weekend of 2018 and received his official diagnosis early in 2019.
ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that carry messages from your brain to your muscles.
There is no cure or treatment that halts or reverses ALS.
Dallas deflected a request for an interview to his daughter, who is the City of Orange's event manager and Economic Development Corporation assistant.
"With ALS, we kind of never know what to expect," she said. "It just affects everyone so differently. That's why it took six months to nail down his diagnosis.
"With a disease they tell you the life expectancy is one to five years, we're two years later and he's still going to work every day. He still thinks he's boss of the family."
Tony and his wife Nancy have been a couple since they were 14 years old, marrying after both completed college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
Tony was a junior college baseball player at Panola College in Carthage, Texas, before an injury ended his career.
Sons Jack and Chad Dallas are still living the college baseball dream as pitchers for Lamar University and the University of Tennessee, respectively.
And they've been bringing back the "Ice Bucket Challenge" with their teammates past and present.
But on Saturday, Oct. 31, Jack and Chad Dallas will join hundreds of their neighbors in a 5-kilometer walk around downtown Orange.
Only those who pre-register can take part. Go to the Team Dallas page on Facebook to sign up. Registrants will be emailed further instructions regarding the route and rallying point.
A kickoff brunch at Free State Winery catered by Boardwalk Grille will be held Oct. 25. The 125 tickets initially sold out overnight at $40 each, so they added 50 more seats that sold out just as quickly.
Leigh Anne Dallas said the walk begins at 10:30 a.m.
"Dad doesn't want it to be sad," she said. "He wants to celebrate all of the good people around him and all of the other families going through the same thing.
"Dad's very adamant that it's not just all about him."
Tony Dallas coached his daughter in softball "with a lot of effort," but had more success coaching his sons in baseball from Little League to high school.
"He's been a member of the Lions Club forever," Leigh Anne said, and he's served as a member of the West Orange-Cove school district board of directors.
Fundraising for the 2020 "Walk to Defeat ALS" in Orange was late starting because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We didn't tell anybody that the walk would be happening until July," Leigh Ann Dallas said. "The actual fundraising didn't start until September, after Hurricane Laura."
But the people at the ALS Society of Texas noticed the contributions coming in.
"When our team started raising so much money, they said, 'Guys, what are you doing? What's working so good?'
"We said, 'Um, we have very good friends,'" Leigh Anne said. "We've been so fortunate to have so many people help us."