By Megan Kraus

Trains usually don’t travel alone. When you’re watching a train go by at a crossing, there are usually many cars connected, all going in the same direction and with the same purpose.

So when our dad Wayne Kraus was diagnosed with ALS, we wanted him to know that he also wouldn’t have to face this disease alone. We’d take on the care together. Also, we’d take on the Walk to Defeat ALS together. That is why we formed The Wayne Train team for the Seaside Walk to Defeat ALS. Join us at www.seasidewalktodefeatals.org

My dad’s favorite hobby has always been model trains. He loves putting sets together and seeing all of the parts work as one. A train is a complex machine, but it looks so simple once it is running smoothly. Click here to see some of my dad’s trains in action.

ALS is also a complex disease. Even when you ask the best researchers, the answers are often complicated, with talk of neurons, genetics, biomarkers and more. But the goal is still simple: to end ALS. And just like a train depends on all moving parts working in tandem, finding an answer to ALS will depend on all of us doing our part. That includes the Walk to Defeat ALS.

Our dad has always seen how different parts or different people work together for success. He has always been active in team sports, including soccer and ice hockey during his time at Penn State and he certainly saw how important it was to work as a team during his time in the Army.

Even just at home, dad sees how we’re all parts of one family. Our immediate family includes my mother and my brother and I, both adopted, and we’re all part of The Wayne Train. Dad knows that we’re all by his side in his fight with ALS.

My dad, in the white shirt above, was always a wonderful and positive coach.

Dad made a lot of connections in life through coaching mine and my brother’s soccer teams and he has made life long friends. My brother’s friend and former teammate held a block pool fundraiser for our family after hearing about dad’s diagnosis. It was heartwarming and surprising since dad coached him when he was 7–14 years old.

But The Wayne Train isn’t just about dad’s team. I wanted to show my mom that she isn’t in this fight alone either. After being married for 40 years, the ALS diagnosis was just as devastating for her. They built the only life I’ve known together and now are trying to plan for an unknown future. Many times people will ask her what they can do to help and the honest answer is that we don’t know. ALS doesn’t have a progression timeline and it’s difficult to plan for what happens next. But with this walk team, it is nice knowing we have a big support system to lean on.

How big is that support system? Currently we have over 50 people joining our team for the Seaside Walk to Defeat ALS! My mom and brother helped recruit people and the number who have signed up and donated is beyond anything I could have imagined. Our team is filled with extended family, friends, former coworkers, and former players. People have registered, donated, shared on Facebook, told friends, and done everything they could to keep The Wayne Train chugging.

I believe that an event like the Walk to Defeat ALS only brings people closer together and having a strong support system and a positive community are so important when dealing with something like ALS. Please join us so you can see just how powerful The Wayne Train is by visiting www.seasidewalktodefeatals.org We hope to see you on Saturday, May 4 as we come together to defeat ALS!

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