Run for ALS

Continuing Jim Schoemehl’s legacy and fighting against ALS together, supporting local families and the ALS Association.

The Jim Schoemehl 5k Run was created in 2001 by a marketing/DECA student when a Webster Groves High School teacher’s husband, Jim Schoemehl, was diagnosed with ALS in September. The run was named after him and his family in honor of their fight. Unfortunately, Jim lost his battle with ALS, but his legacy lives on in the annual run.

ALS has devastating effects on the victims and their friends and family . The Jim Schoemehl Run exists to help them all through the battle.

Each year, the race has grown gradually to raise more money and awareness for ALS. The run has been integrated into a community event with many families, friends, and even pets participating. The race has persevered through harsh thunderstorms and very hot temperatures. Each year is different from the last because a new group of students organize the run; however, we set the bar higher with each new year. We hope that this year the race continues to grow to exemplary new heights and we know it will be a great success.


Denis Hart and His Story

I am not afraid of ALS. As I have shared with my family, I look at my condition as a challenge. I have never been afraid of challenges and certainly not of this one.
— Denis Hart
Denis and Suzanne Hart with Annie Freeman and Emma Binder, two of the Jim Schoemehl Chairpersons.

Denis and Suzanne Hart with Annie Freeman and Emma Binder, two of the Jim Schoemehl Chairpersons.

In July 2018, after a long time of wondering and inquiry, Denis was diagnosed with ALS. It was a long process to get his diagnosis. His daughter-in-law, a physical trainer, was the first to think to send him to a neurologist where he would finally be given answers. The doctors believed that he would only have two to three  months to live. It's been nearly seven months since his diagnosis.

Denis Hart is 79, and lives in Kirkwood with his wife of 54 years, Suzanne. He is the loving father of three, an uncle and a grandpa. Denis has Irish heritage and is very proud of it. He speaks Irish, and he even taught us a little bit! He is the chairperson of the Kirkwood Human Rights Commission, and will term out after 6 years this May. Running has been huge part of Denis’s life: he ran marathons in Chicago until he was 65, but he had to stop when he began to feel unsteady due to ALS. Writing is also a huge part of his life. He loves to write short stories and enjoys the writing class he is apart of. Poetry is also a joy for him to write, and his poems are often centered around forgiveness and acceptance. Denis is thankful every day that he is still able to write. It’s one of the things that keeps him going and optimistic.

Denis looks at ALS as a challenge, and although times are hard, Denis believes that there is “no place for fear”. He and Suzanne feel so blessed that ALS has not been visited on any of their children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. Denis remains the witty, caring, and resilient man he always has been.  Denis believes that “one who never fears is free”, and he is still free.

The Hart family is really excited for the Jim Schoemehl Run. They are so thankful to everyone who is dedicated to helping ease the pain and impact of this disease. They are also very thankful to the ALS Association for their help and provisions.

Denis (in the red hat), Suzanne (orange jacket) and some of their family.

Denis (in the red hat), Suzanne (orange jacket) and some of their family.

About Jim Schoemehl

Jim Schoemehl grew up in Saint Louis County with his best friend, roomate, and brother, Matt. He attended Vianney High School and then the University of Missouri.

After graduation, Jim had a successful career in specialty advertising for Anheuser Busch. He was a talented volleyball and softball player up until the time he was diagnosed in Spetember 2001. Jim Schoemhel was also a loving husband to Alicia Schoemehl and a caring father to their beautiful two-year-old daughter, Bradie.

Jim passed away in 2003.

Jim and his family were the spark for this run. They inspire us to continue the Jim Schoemehl 5K Run each and every year, and we are committed to serve each family we’ve worked with. We are proud to continue to search for a cure and help families in need.

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The ALS Association 

Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. As the preeminent ALS organization, The Association leads the way in research, patient and community services, public education, and advocacy — giving help and hope to those facing the disease. The Association’s nationwide network of chapters provides comprehensive patient services and support to the ALS community. The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to cure and treat ALS through global cutting-edge research, and to empower people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.