Walpole Supports the Fight Against ALS With an ALS Awareness Week

WHS athletics organized the week from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 to promote the fight against Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Over the past few years, with several members of the community battling ALS, the winter sports teams have participated in ALS Awareness nights. This year, boys’ and girls’ basketball and hockey joined in the effort as they wore “beat ALS” uniforms and raised money for the fight against ALS. The ALS games this year are extra meaningful following the recent passing of Tara O’Brien, a supportive Walpole sports fan and mother of WHS alumni, who began the community’s effort to fight ALS after her diagnosis in the beginning of 2020. The games will benefit 4 You I Will Fight charity, started by O’Brien, that raises awareness and funds to beat ALS. Also, a donation from the ALS games will go towards treatment for Tim Hoffman, a well-known photographer of WHS teams, who is currently battling ALS.

The girls’ basketball team kicked off the week with a strong win against Natick 59-27. Last year, Walpole had a tough loss against Natick, so this year, the team was ready to come out fast and play their game—and they did just that with a commanding 16-point lead to end the first quarter. All year long, the girls’ team has focused on improving their defense, and on Tuesday, their defense shined as they only gave up 9 points in the first half. With a banner to support ALS Awareness, as well as a full student section decked out in red as a sign of support, the girls’ basketball redeemed themselves from last year and the team ended with nine scorers. 

The girls’ hockey team continued the ALS Awareness week on Wednesday with another strong performance against Natick. Despite a sophomore Maddy Graceffa goal, the first period ended with a small Natick lead of 2-1. Even with a tough battle the rest of the game and several senior captain Maddy Clark saves, the game ended with a 2-1 loss. On the special night, the girls’ hockey team played hard and raised awareness for a good cause. 

The boys’ teams rounded out the weekend with high attendance, especially from students. The boys’ basketball team hosted their ALS game on Friday against Milton. The team maintained a commanding lead throughout the game. A strong performance and contribution from all players led the team to a 80- 54 win. On Saturday, the boys’ hockey team finished up the ALS Awareness week with a tough win against Milton. Milton scored first, but junior Ryan Walsh answered with his own goal. The game went into overtime where junior Micheal Bisceglia scored off of an assist from senior Matt Bianculli. 

Walpole went 3-1 on the week as teams raised money for 4 You I Will Fight through proceeds off of game attendance, donations, the selling of 4 You I Will Fight apparel and “Chuck-a-Puck.” The school, as well as the Walpole community as a whole, showed up to support not only the teams, but more importantly, O’Brien and Hoffman. Also, ALS Awareness and support spread outside the Walpole community where on Saturday, when the girls’ hockey team played at Milton, the Milton team hosted an area for donations for the 4 You I Will Fight charity.