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Durham Family Combats ALS With Benefit Concert

Image of architect Phil Freelon with wife Nnenna Freelon
Courtesy Sufis Doucet
After Phil Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, he decided to start a foundation with his wife Nnenna Freelon to support ALS research.

For Durham-based architect Phil Freelon, 2016 was a year of triumphs and setbacks. Freelon was the lead architect for theNational Museum of African American History & Culture and celebrated the museum’s opening in Washington D.C. last fall. But months before the opening, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Freelon and his wife, Grammy-nominated jazz vocalistNnenna Freelon, decided to start a foundation to support ALS research. The couple hosts a concert tonight at the Carolina Theatre in Durham at 7 p.m. The event is called “Design A World Without ALS Benefit Concert.” Host Frank Stasio talks with Phil and Nnenna Freelon about living with ALS and efforts to combat the neurological disease.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.