photo: RBR sophomore and Red Bank resident John Barney encourages all to come out and walk for a cure for ALS at the
LITTLE SILVER, NJ - On May 19, Red Bank Regional (RBR) sophomore John Barney from Red Bank invites the public to take a walk along the picturesque Long Branch promenade at Pier Village for a cause near and dear to his heart—the defeat of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) aka, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. John Barney has actively worked to raise money for the ALS Association for the past five years.
ALS has been a part of the young man’s life since he was two, when his dad, Glenn Barney, was first diagnosed with the awful disease. By the time John, an only child, was in first grade, Glenn had to give up his profession as an Equine dentist. When John entered middle school, his Dad could no longer drive a car and home care professionals were a routine part of his and his Mom Ellen’s world.
Last summer, Glenn Barney sadly succumbed to ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that according to John, “just robs your strength.” Glenn did survive an amazing 13 years with a disease that usually proves fatal from three to five years of diagnosis. John attributes that to the amazing love, care and concern Glenn Barney received from his family and friends.
In their loved ones’ memories, John’s family joined efforts with the Gesell family of Rumson to form the “The Friends of Peter and Glenn” team for the Long Branch Walk to Defeat ALS. The Barneys met Peter’s family through their common struggle with ALS, which took Peter’s life ten years ago. Peter’s daughter, Jackie, originally formed the team and mentored John’s involvement. She handed over organizational and fundraising efforts to John about three years ago. This year, John hopes to raise $5,000 to help find a cure for this fatal disease.
John’s experiences with ALS has shaped his young life and given him a career direction. The once aspiring drama student, who appeared in several community productions as a middle school student, first entered RBR with the intentions of becoming a drama major in its famed