Ordering a drink at a bar can be a relaxing way to wind down after a long day of work. However, on October 19th, your happy hour beverage could also benefit an important cause – supporting the essential research to end ALS at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI).

On Thursday, October 19th from 4:00 to 8:30pm, people from across the finance community will be behind the bar at Howl at the Moon in downtown Boston, raising funds as part of the ALS Warriors Bartender Challenge.

For this event, teams of stock traders, executives, and others from Boston’s finance industry take turns behind the bar for 30 minutes at a time, collecting “tips” – all of which will be donated to ALS TDI. The team that raises the most money during their shift will be declared the winner.

There will also be a raffle with prizes ranging from a tiki boat trip in Salem to Botox facial treatments. Those interested in attending the event to join in on the fun and help support ALS research can purchase tickets here – advanced tickets are $75, and day-of entry will cost $100. Virtual tip jars for each team are also available for those who can’t attend but want to contribute to the cause.

Claudette Mason, who organizes the event, says the idea for the challenge, beyond raising money for a good cause, comes from reversing common roles for finance workers and their clients.

“There's two sides of Wall Street,” she says. “There's the buy side and the sell side. The buy side are our customers, and they buy or sell stocks through us. The buy side and the sell side would basically never match up together. The buy side guys would only go out to dinner if we were taking them to dinner. So, this originally started with the buy side guys getting the chance to be the bartenders, and we got to go there and say, ‘make me a drink and we'll give you money.’”

Since the challenge began more than seven years ago, the bartending teams have grown to encompass finance workers from all parts of the industry. Over the years, Claudette says she’s been inspired by the willingness of her colleagues – and competitors – to come together to support a cause she cares about deeply.

“It's just so heartwarming to see,” she says. “Yes, everybody is having a good time, but everybody also knows why they're here. It's the support that you get from your competitors. Ultimately, I know my family and friends are going to donate to my team, but Wall Street is competitive. Half of the guys that come there to support me are guys that I'm competing with for business. It’s just amazing.”

Claudette says she was inspired to get involved in supporting ALS research after watching a friend’s father go through the disease. She and her friend bonded over a similar experience – Claudette’s father was going through colon cancer at the same time. However, when she noticed the difference in her friend’s father’s experience as opposed to her own, she to dedicate herself to fighting ALS.

“My dad lived with cancer for about 12 years and my girlfriend's dad lived with us for about 12 months,” she says. “We were comparing our stories and it just hit me that I was going to do everything I could to bring awareness to ALS. I think cancer is a horrible disease. But the research that they have right now for cancer is just immense. And in ALS you have so much less.”

When she first decided look for an organization to support with her fundraising efforts, Claudette was immediately attracted to ALS TDI. She says that supporting research is important to her – but just as important is the ALS TDI staff and the support they’ve given her and her friends through the years.

“It’s the way the ALS TDI team cares for people,” she says. “I have sent a few of my friends who have been diagnosed to see [ALS TDI Vice President of Development] Carol [Hamilton]. Everyone from Carol to the people I’ve met on the events team, who I'm dealing with on a daily basis – I know how much they care, and it's reflected in their work. I know that if anybody is going to find a treatment for this disease, it's going to be the ALS TDI team.”

To learn more and buy tickets for the Warriors Bartender Challenge, click here. 

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