Volunteers are an invaluable part of the ALS Association team. Whether it’s providing patient support, lending a hand at events, or helping out in the office, their work and dedication is deeply appreciated. Each volunteer has their own reason for getting involved that is unique to them. In an effort to share their stories, here are insights from some of our volunteers.
My name is Ted O’Neill and I lived in St. Louis when I was younger and returned in 1986, but lived other places (to answer the traditional St. Louis question – I did not live here for high school). I have primarily lived here for most of my life, but also lived in Denver and San Francisco mostly, but also Colorado Springs (CO), Houston (TX), Eureka (CA), Sacramento (CA), Vancouver (WA) for shorter periods. I like to cook, brew my own beer, vegetable garden, and I have taken up pickleball. I like to go see local sights and try to get involved with activities to meet up with other people.
I am relatively new at volunteering with the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, beginning in June of this year (2018) with the St. Louis Walk to Defeat ALS. So far, I have participated in three events, not only with the St. Louis Walk, but also at the Kimmswick 5K and the Swing for A Cure golf tournament. My personal motivation to become involved as a volunteer is my wife, who lost her life due to complications from ALS in February 2018. There is continuing need for a resource like the ALS Association to assist patients and caregivers who are still affected by ALS. As a caregiver with someone who had ALS, not only were we grateful for the time that Tonia from the local chapter shared with us, but I also understand the difficulties for agencies to provide assistance with limited funds and resources. Volunteering just seems the right thing to do at this point.
ALS is a bigger disease than what we had to personally experience. It does not end when a personal battle or situation is finalized by the disease to the person we cared for, because so much more progress is needed to find a cure. The difficulties are ongoing and helping a local agency in order to help families feels like the least one can do. Though we have diverse individual stories and situations with this disease, having experienced its impact both for the person dealing directly with the personal daily struggles and for myself as a caregiver, it is important that there is a resource we can turn to that goes beyond only medical assistance and advice. That is why I take what I consider volunteering where I can to be a small effort on my part to help the ALS chapter provide the bigger job and support the ALS affected community needs. Every little bit adds up and small contributions add up and provide hope.
My name is Eloise Capelle and I am a recent St. Louis transplant from South Carolina! My husband and I moved here about two years ago for his job. I am a Geriatric Social Worker, but work in sales for a retirement community. I love doing anything outdoors, traveling, reading historical fiction, watercolor painting— and volunteering for the ALS Association!
I volunteered at the Glo Run for the ALS table back in August (my husband tagged along too!) and I am looking forward to doing more! One of my favorite people in the world had ALS. My grandfather was diagnosed in 2006 and passed away the following year. He truly had a spirit of voluntarism and helping people. When I moved to St. Louis, I wanted to volunteer in some way and since I had this personal connection to ALS, it was the organization I felt pulled to. It’s my first time living in a city that has its own ALS Chapter, and I was thrilled with the convenience of having it close by! Becoming involved through volunteering has made me still feel connected to my grandfather, which is so precious.
The staff has all been so kind. Michelle is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and it has been a true joy to get to know her! Everyone I’ve met with or talked with has been so welcoming and that makes it even more rewarding—to know you’re giving your time to an organization that employs people who are hardworking and good! I also love the variety of opportunities that are offered within volunteering. There is something for everyone. From spending time with people affected by ALS, to working booths at events, to office work—you can do anything! The flexibility and accommodating nature of the organization make it easy and rewarding.
We are always looking for volunteers of all abilities to help in any way they can. You can even help plan our events when you volunteer as part of an event committee. For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer page.
For more information on ALS and The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, visit www.alsa-stl.org.