photo: RBR sophomore and Red Bank resident John Barney encourages all to come out and walk for a cure for ALS at the Long Branch Pier Village promenade on May 19.  Check in is at 9:30 am and starts at the Great Lawn on the Promenade. John lost his dad, Glenn, last summer to the dreaded disease and is determined to help spare others that tremendous pain. For more information visit WWW.ALSWalks.org.

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 Visual & Performing Arts Academy. However, he was soon drawn to the new Sports Medicine and Management Academy. He now works every day after school as a student athletic trainer under the direction of RBR’s athletic trainer Christine Emrich tending to RBR’s athletes during practices and athletic competitions.  He also joined the Little Silver and Tinton Falls EMS cadet squads and responds to health emergency calls in these two neighboring towns.  When he isn’t at the school assisting the athletic trainer or answering EMS calls, John attends Boy Scouting events where he is working on his promotion to Eagle Scout. He still nurtures his creative side as a tech assistant for RBR’s many musical dramatic performances. He hopes to someday become either an athletic trainer or a nurse.

            Anyone wishing to aid John in raising funds for ALS research or wanting to join him in his walk for the cause may visit his website HERE. or register at WWW.ALSWalks.org at a ALS Walk near you.