The ALS Association Western PA Chapter Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Volunteers are essential to the success of The ALS Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter, which is why volunteer appreciation is so important to us. Our dedicated group of volunteers are working to improve our communities and helping our organization meet our mission to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.

The selfless commitment and efforts of our volunteers should be acknowledged and recognized all year long. But National Volunteer week offers us a unique opportunity to formally recognize the efforts of the individuals who have graciously given their time and skill-sets to help us all create a world without ALS.

On behalf of our Board, our staff members, and those in our community living with ALS, thank you to all of our volunteers for your unwavering support and generosity. We truly appreciate that you have chosen to join us in this fight.

Below are quotes from a handful of the hard-working volunteers that help us keep our Chapter running smoothly.

“I started volunteering at the ALS Association after my dad was diagnosed because the chapter provided a community of support during such a difficult time. I continue to volunteer in hopes of giving back to the community that did so much for my family during my dad’s fight.”

Morgan Geniviva

“As a family living with ALS, we are acutely aware that many of those with this disease cannot speak for themselves.  We are thankful to have the opportunity/ability to advocate for them.  We speak up to raise awareness of ALS and to ask for funding/support, to help drive the search for a cure.”

Brett and Jeannine Schoenecker

“We were the recipients of many selfless gestures when our loved one was fighting her battle with ALS.  Volunteering is our way of saying ‘thank you’ while paying it forward.”

Matt Sudaric

At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

– Denzel Washington

“Growing up my parents instilled this message in us. My mom was the expert in Random Acts of kindness before they were even a thing! When I became a mom I knew I wanted to impart the same values in my daughters. It was easy to devote our time to the ALS Association of Western PA. Emma and Maeve were 10 and 13 when their grandmother was diagnosed with ALS. They experienced first-hand how the chapter helped their grandma live her best life each day with the many tools they provided her. We know how important their work is and feel happy to be a small part of what they do. We’ll continue to give our time and talents until we live in a world without ALS.”

Amy Shaughnessy

Board Member, Board of Directors

“From the time I met my first ‘customer’ that was diagnosed with ALS I wanted to do more.  The ALS community draws you in, no it absorbs you into their lives and community, unlike anything I have ever experienced. The people that I have met on this journey are beyond amazing.  The persons living with ALS have the constitution of 10 people and their family’s commitment is unwavering. My service to the ALS Association will continue to be a lifetime passion, devotion, and obsession until this horrible disease is eradicated.”

John Letizia, ATP

Board Member, Board of Directors

“The reason I volunteer is because ALS hit someone close to me. My friend’s sister died from ALS and she was only in her 50’s.  As I learned more about ALS and what a devastating, incurable disease this is, I wanted to do something to help in whatever way I could at the Western Chapter ALS office. Since I am retired, I feel it’s my responsibility to do something to help whenever they need my assistance. The staff does a wonderful job helping people afflicted with ALS, their families and raising money for research and and it makes me happy to volunteer my time to such a worthy cause.”

Maryann Mathews

Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” The ALS community is an extension of my family, and I am inspired to be more and do more because of my involvement. I will continue to do everything possible—as a researcher, advocate, and volunteer—to make a positive impact in the lives of those I care for so deeply.

Christi Kolarcik, PhD

Board Member, Board of Directors

“My Grandpap, Richard Pisarcik, passed away from ALS in 1978 – 7 years before I was born.  I grew up always wondering why I couldn’t meet my Grandpap.  Instead, I only got to know of the man he was through stories from my Grandma and other family.  Only when I was old enough to comprehend the circumstances that lead to his death did I realize that ALS was to blame for robbing me of the chance to get to know him in person.  It was at this young age that I realized I wanted to do something to help prevent another kid from never getting to know a grandparent.

After interning for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association in college, I found my way to Pittsburgh for law school.  In Pittsburgh, I was able to meet my wife.  After dating for one year, her mother, Angie Kazmeraski, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.  After a year battling the disease, she succumbed to ALS in July of 2011.  Seeing first-hand the impact ALS has on an entire family further flamed my desire to help fight this disease to every extent possible.  Our Pittsburgh Walk team, Angie’s Angels is named in her honor and memory.

I volunteer for my Grandpap.  I volunteer for my mother-in-law.  I volunteer for every family who has been impacted by this horrible disease.  All we can do is fight to win against ALS.  If I can add one iota to that fight, then I know my decision to volunteer was worth every second.”

Keith Pisarcik, Esq.

President & Chair, Board of Directors

Volunteers are the driving force behind The ALS Association Western PA Chapter. Our local chapter depends on the efforts of volunteers to support our many programs, including patient services and fund raising activities. To sign up for volunteer opportunities, call our office at 412.821.3254

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