17th Annual Research Update and Awards Luncheon

The 17th Annual Research Update and Awards Luncheon was held on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at the Philadelphia Marriott West in Conshohocken. We are grateful to our friends at InfuCareRX for their generous sponsorship of this year’s event!

This event is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the current state of ALS research and for us to thank our wonderful supporters from throughout the year. Nearly 160 people attended this year’s event! We are grateful for the amazing level of support our community has shown our organization.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, presented “Understanding ALS: Sorting Apples and Oranges”. Dr. Rosenfeld has the unique gift of translating complicated science and data into easily understandable language. He suggested that ALS may not be just one disease but in fact a combination of diseases and if this is true, we need to approach finding treatments and a cure in an entirely new way. His presentation can be found on our Youtube channel shortly.

Dr. Terry Heiman-Patterson continued the research discussion by discussing the basic research occurring at the Neurosciences Lab at Temple Health. She is starting an exciting new collaborative project that will involve researchers from around the country. Enrollment is also open for several clinical trials for new treatments and therapies for ALS at the MDA/ALS Center of Hope.

The awards portion of the day is our way of personally thanking our supporters. Todd Kelly, who has been greatly involved with our organization over the past few years, was the recipient of the Sunrise Award. His incredibly poignant speech at our 2nd Annual Gala of Hope moved us all to tears. He has participated in our Hope Educates program, told his story for our Season of Hope, and shows up at many different events! We are truly grateful for his dedication and commitment.

The Courageous Heart Award is given to those who have taken a proactive role in the fight against ALS, supporting both people living with ALS and the ALS Hope Foundation, while courageously battling ALS themselves. Our awardees this year were Steven Anoia, Jack Buzby, Joy Carducci, Ross Doughty, Tom Rodgers, John Sweeney, Patricia Vitkow and Brian Zubatch. Mr. Sweeney asked that his wife, Jennifer, receive his award instead and David Buzby received the PopPop’s best helper award.  

Our Community Heart Award was presented to Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Greenstar Exteriors, PatientsLikeMe and Stuart Wallet, DDS & Karen Wallet, DMD. Each of these community partners have shown outstanding support of our organization over the past year. Their partnership enables us to strengthen ties to the community as well as grow our programs and services.

The Promise of Hope Award is presented to young people who are making a change in their community through advocacy for people with ALS. This year’s recipients were Maria Lombardi, who participated in our Hope Educates program to learn more about ALS for her school project, and Dana Sweeney, who designed a fully functional ALS research facility, clinic and office space for her Capstone Senior Design project at a Philadelphia University. These young ladies have shown a level of maturity and understanding well beyond their years. They will undoubtingly continue to be change makers and make a lasting impact on the ALS community.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out as well as all the people who work with us to continue the care and search for the cure of people with ALS. Photos from the event can be viewed here