ALS license plate unveiled at Statehouse
BOSTON — By early next year, cars bearing new license plates supporting ALS research could be hitting the roads in Massachusetts.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito unveiled the new license plate on Monday. Proceeds from the plate registration will benefit the nonprofit partnership ALS One, a collaboration among ALS Therapy Institute, Compassionate Care ALS, Massachusetts General Hospital and UMass Medical School.
"This issue has some personal history for the commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Baker, who served as secretary of administration of finance under the late Gov. Paul Cellucci.
Cellucci announced in 2011 that he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and died of complications two years later.
The viral Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign supporting ALS research began in Massachusetts, raising more than $220 million after it was launched in 2014 by Pete Frates, a former Boston College basketball player living with the disease.
Frates' father John Frates described Massachusetts as "the epicenter of ALS awareness."
In addition to the green arrow that ALS One uses as its logo, the charity license plate bears the phrase, "Care & cure for ALS."
The plates will cost $40, and at least 750 people need to apply for them before production and funding can begin. Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney said she hopes to see the ALS plate on Massachusetts roadways by early 2017.
Besides the new ALS One plate, the Registry of Motor Vehicles currently offers at least 23 charity license plates, benefitting cancer research, economic development on Cape Cod, farmers, and organizations including the Basketball Hall of Fame, Nantucket Lighthouse School and the Jimmy Fund.
"For those 2 million registered vehicle owners that don't presently have a specialty plate, the registry would encourage you to think about how you may be able, by supporting ALS One and applying to have one of their plates, you not only keep your vehicle registered, but you have the opportunity to save a life," Deveney said.
In 2002, Polito, then a state representative, sponsored the bill creating the Red Sox-logo license plate that benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund.
That plate has been "quite popular," raising "well over $7 million" for the Jimmy Fund, Polito said Monday.
"No doubt, ALS One will have a tremendous opportunity to use the plate not only to raise awareness about ALS but to raise the needed funds to help develop treatment for individuals diagnosed with ALS and obviously lead to a cure and lead to better care for patients," Polito said.
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