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Float for a Cure – Red Nose River Float to raise funds for ALS research

By Deva Wagner

The Red Nose River Float will take place on June 17 on the beautiful Greenbrier River, the longest un-dammed river in the Eastern United States.  

This event is being held in honor of Chally Erb, Gary Arbaugh, and all whose lives have been affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. 

Chally died April 3, 2019 after being diagnosed with ALS in 2015.  2-5 years is the life expectancy. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  The person diagnosed with ALS today receives the same diagnoses as the first case discovered in 1869. There is no cure or treatment for ALS and it a terminal disease.  It slowly robs an individual of all abilities and is always fatal. 

Years ago, after Chally’s diagnosis, Dan wanted to do a fundraiser for ALS… this was to be a golf tournament and the date was to be June of 2016… then the flood happened.

Fast forward to 2022 and Dan once again presented the idea of the fundraiser for ALS. This time as a float down the river beginning in Caldwell and ending in Ronceverte at the fabulous Island Park amphitheater. Among many other things, Chally was an avid boater and loved spending time on the river.

We jumped in with both feet and with the help of our friends, some strangers who are now friends, and 150 people who wanted to float and raise money, and we had a very successful fundraiser. So successful that the ALS Association of WV has put our little event into their operating budget after year one!

Last year the Red Nose River Float went over and above our fundraising goal of $10,000.  Thanks to our community, generous donations, and sponsorships we raised almost $25,000!  This year we are raising the bar with a goal of at least $30,000.

  If you want to join the float as an individual, start a team or join a team, please go to or find us on Facebook at “2023 Red Nose River Float for ALS”. If you would like to donate your time or offer a service we would gladly accept help in all areas.  

We need a cure for this progressive neurodegenerative disease!  All proceeds will go directly to the ALS Association.

Event organizers Dan Withrow and Deva Wagner

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