One of Jerry Gladman's proudest moments as a father was the day son Jesse ran alongside Muhammad Ali during a training run in Florida while writing a story about the famed boxer.
This Saturday, Jesse Gladman, now a 29-year-old elementary school teacher, will be walking for his late father during the ALS Society of Ontario's annual Walk for ALS.
Jerry, a former Toronto Star copy boy, Toronto Telegram reporter, Toronto Sun writer and Ryerson journalism teacher, died of ALS on June 21, 2004. The father of three was 61.
ALS slowly claimed Jerry's life, but not before he struggled to complete a four-part series on Living and Dying With ALS, which posthumously won him a Dunlop Award.
“With his ALS series, we were getting hundreds of e-mails for years after, thanking him for helping their families. The response was amazing and it was amazing to see how many people actually knew him from his writing,” Jesse says in a Sharon Lem Toronto Sun story.
Jesse told Sharon the ALS Society of Ontario comforted the Gladman family during his father's 14-month battle with the disease.
“During our toughest time, the ALS Society of Ontario was instrumental in helping my father remain comfortable in his last year and pass away with dignity."
ALS Walks are held annually across Canada. The Toronto walk at Wilket Creek Park in the Don Mills and Eglinton area starts at 9 a.m. Last year, the Toronto walk raised more than $113,000. The target this year is $125,000.
Friends, former colleagues and longtime readers will no doubt be walking - and pledging - in memory of Jerry.
Colleagues still on the job - Peter Worthington, Mark Bonokoski and Jim Slotek - recall working with Jerry over the years in another Sharon Lem story.