Like many people, Pattie Hamlin took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. And like many people, she did it in support of the cause but without a deep connection to the disease. But that all changed just a few years later.
Pattie Hamlin was diagnosed with ALS in 2016, but she did not let that slow her down.
“Shortly after being diagnosed I began researching and discovered how devastating this disease really is,” Pattie says. “In those early months I struggled emotionally with the outlook that was now my reality. Eventually, I chose to use my situation as motivation to try and make a difference for the future of ALS.”
For her tireless efforts in support of our Chapter and the ALS Association as an ALS advocate, fundraiser, and ambassador, Pattie was honored with the Hero Award virtually during the ALS Association 2021 Leadership Conference in February.
You can watch the award presentation here:
After 31 dedicated years as an assistant director of special education in central Illinois, Pattie retired in 2016 shortly after her ALS diagnosis, but in so many ways her work had just begun. Later that year, Pattie gathered over 3,000 letters in just two weeks from her community in Nokomis, IL, writing members of congress to advocate for ALS related legislation. She also formed “Pattie’s Posse” Walk to Defeat ALS team, raising over $87,000 to date. She has been a spokesperson on local media, promoting the Walk’s importance and spreading awareness by talking about her diagnosis and journey. Pattie has also participated in the ALS Advocacy Conference—both in person and virtually—willingly sharing her story with members of congress on Capitol Hill. Today, she continues to advocate for people with ALS while serving as a companion to those newly diagnosed, providing personal care suggestions and equipment know-how.
“Being nominated for the Hero Award has helped me realize how much of a difference the efforts of my friends and family and I have made,” Pattie says. “It also helped me see the memoires I’ve been able to create. I would like to thank you all for helping me bring to light both of these gifts.”
The Hero Award, which is the highest honor given by The ALS Association, was established to recognize and pay tribute to people living with or who have lived with ALS and who have made “an indelible impact on The ALS Association and the community-at-large.” Those honored with the award have inspired the ALS community as they have promoted awareness of ALS and have sought to improve the lives of those with ALS.
Thank you Pattie, for all you have done and continue to do for the ALS Community!