Faces of ALS: Meet our Gratitude Group

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Taking the Extra Step – Meet our Gratitude Group

In the age of automated email acknowledgements, mass mailings or no acknowledgements, there’s nothing like receiving a handwritten note to brighten your day. We are especially thankful to the generous donors who support the ALS community. Without them, funding for research, support, and medical care would not be possible. Our Gratitude Group, headed by Development Coordinator Lauren Ferguson, was formed in August 2021 to personally welcome and thank new donors. This group allows volunteers to act as strong stewards and ambassadors and currently consists of eight volunteers: Beverly AbiAntoun, Joe Collins, Susan Footlik, Wendy Formanski, Ina Turner Jones, Holly Kahan, Diana Pisone, and Mary Roemer. All members have a special connection to the disease with the desire to give back.

Volunteer Mary Roemer shares her reason for helping out: “My husband Dave was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and passed away in 2015. I volunteer for this group because I am forever grateful for the Foundation and all that they did to help my family. ALS is a family disease, and the Foundation knows the importance of patients and their families. If it hadn’t been for the guidance of the Foundation and our caregiver, we would have run out of gas on the road of life. Today, I can give back what was given to me, and a handwritten note is so meaningful and personal.”

Each week, the volunteers are presented with lists of names and addresses and asked to write up to 10 handwritten notes. These notes welcome new donors to the Foundation family in addition to thanking them for their support. Gratitude Group members also often share personal stories such as how the Foundation has helped them and their family members.

We’ve seen the amazing impact that these notes have had. One donor appreciates the extra touch by saying, “I wanted to follow up with you on the Les Turner ALS Foundation. You and I have supported a lot of causes and have been on multiple committees, but I have never received a handwritten note from a “Gratitude Group” and wanted to acknowledge the gesture. It was a delightful and meaningful surprise. Continued success on your efforts with this worthwhile cause that I know is very near and dear to your heart.”

Our Gratitude Group volunteers have a unique opportunity to welcome, thank, and share the important role that they play in the fight against ALS, while making a tremendous difference in our ALS community.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Gratitude Group or would like to join, please contact Lauren Ferguson at lferguson@lesturnerals.org or call 847-679-3311.