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A 23-year Army Veteran raises money with her fight with ALS and love for elephants

Her mission is to raise money for the African elephants at Cameron Park Zoo and for the ALS Association.
Credit: Brenda Gay

WACO, Texas —

Sergeant Brenda J. Gay, a 23-year Army Veteran, was diagnosed with ALS in May of 2018 and she has a love for elephants. Gay’s mission, along with the help of her family, is to raise money for the African elephants at Cameron Park Zoo and for the ALS Association.  

Amyotrophic Lateral Scierosis, or ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Gay has Bulbar ALS which affects her speech and swallowing first. She will continue to grow weaker as the disease affects the rest of her body.

When Gay’s son, Nathaniel Gay, was born in 1977, she got him his first stuffed animal, an elephant. She jokingly blames him for her growing collection of over 6,000 pieces.  

For the first time all 6,000 elephant items have been placed in the same location at the Red Barn at Cameron Park Zoo.

On Saturday at 1:00 p.m. the Red Barn doors will open for the public to see this treasure trove of elephant items. Some items will be available for sale and the funds raised will be divided between the ALS Association and Cameron Park Zoo Elephant Conservation programs. 

The event is located at 2460 Flat Rock Rd. in Waco and ends at 4:00 pm.

A representative from the ALS Association will be at the event to answer any questions concerning ALS. Cameron Park Zoo’s Mammal Animal Care Supervisor will also be there to answer any questions about elephants. 

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