April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

2021 03 ENews Thank You Volunteers

Celebrating Generosity and Service to our ALS Community

Volunteers provide help and hope to people living with ALS and their loved ones in so many ways, including participating in our community outreach events and raising much-needed funds; advocating for legislation by sending emails, making phone calls; and posting on social media to help raise ALS awareness and support for our Chapter.

Throughout this month, we will be sharing our gratitude for many of the Golden West Chapter’s dedicated volunteers. Thank you to all of our volunteers for their incredible support of our mission and families facing ALS. Follow in their footsteps by signing up to be a Golden West Chapter volunteer today!

It is only together that we will defeat ALS.

Giving Their Time and Talents: Our Chapter Committee and Event Volunteers

Tina Essey Mikkelsen is the daughter of Sheila and Richard “Dick” Essey.  Sheila was diagnosed with ALS in 1994, and soon after, Dick helped to found the organization that is now part of the Golden West Chapter of The ALS Association. In 1996, her father also created the Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation. Determined to advance the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS, Tina, her brother Jim, and their families continue to honor the legacy and memory of their parents through their support of the ALS community and the Chapter’s annual Champions for Cures and Care celebration. Tina also currently serves as a volunteer on Chapter’s Marketing and Communications Committee.

2023 04 Volunteer Digest Tina Mikkelsen 5

“Volunteering on the Marketing and Communications committee has provided greater insight into the workings of the Golden West Chapter.”

“I know how proud my parents would be to see how dedicated and committed the Chapter is to improving the lives of people with ALS and their families and to funding critical research to find treatments and cures.”

Shae Selix volunteers as a board member for the Golden West Chapter and serves as the Chair of the Chapter’s Marketing and Communications Committee. Shae first got involved with the Chapter in support of his father, Rusty Selix, a noted health care and ALS advocate, who also served as a Chapter Board Member and was the inaugural recipient of the “Dean and Kathleen Rasmussen Advocate of the Year” Essey Award. Shae and his family continue to participate in Chapter community outreach events in support of the Chapter’s mission and help families affected by ALS. Shae will be participating as a team captain in the annual Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS and Walk.

2023 04 Volunteer Digest Shae Selix 5

"Shortly after my father, Rusty was diagnosed with ALS, we got in contact with the Golden West Chapter, who connected us with clinicians within our area. They also supported us through their equipment loan program, which improved my dad’s quality of life and allowed him the ability to communicate with people in a new way.

“Since my father's death, my relationship has changed with the Chapter. As a family, we get to continue to contribute to the organization and give back in the name of my father in a new way. It connects us with an organization and a community of families that have experienced something similar, which continues to support us as we move on from what happened.”

Eve Helms first became involved with the Golden West Chapter along with her husband, David Jordan, who was diagnosed with ALS in January 2019. They were determined to help the ALS community and the Chapter’s mission and joined the Greater Los Angeles Walk to Defeat ALS. After David’s journey with ALS ended in August 2020, Eve continued to participate in the Walk and support those affected by ALS, inspired by her husband's eternal optimism. She also joined the Chapter’s Marketing and Communications Committee to share her knowledge and expertise as a former news media professional to help amplify ALS awareness and support for the ALS community.

Eve Helms, Chapter Committee and Event Volunteer

“My husband David and I connected to the Golden West Chapter, before his official diagnosis of ALS , during that early search for answers. We remained strongly engaged with the Chapter during David’s 19-month journey and benefited greatly from their services. I volunteer on a Chapter Committee and at Chapter events to help find any path possible to reach and support our ALS community. It is an honor to be part of a dedicated group committed to finding effective treatments and cures for ALS, and to advocate for and empower each person with ALS to live their lives to the fullest.”

The Power of Youth Leadership in Action: Event Co-Chairs for the Jim Tracy 5K to Defeat ALS

The 9th annual Jim Tracy 5K to Defeat ALS returned IN-PERSON and ONLINE on Sunday, April 23 in Golden Gate Park. Since its inception, this student-led, community event, held in memory of beloved San Francisco University High School coach, Jim Tracy, has grown exponentially with each year. This year’s event co-chairs, Erin Wadsworth & Poppy Chrisman share what this event means to them:

“For us, being part of the Jim Tracy 5K committee over the past few years has been such a unique and powerful experience. Watching the smiles of everyone as they rally around friends and family brings us both so much joy, and gives us hope the ALS community will keep fighting together until we can find a cure.”

“My babysitter when I was younger was one of Jim’s runners. Hearing how she spoke of him and his impact on her as a runner and person inspired me to join the Jim Tracy 5K to Defeat ALS committee in high school, and it has been an amazing experience. I started on the outreach committee, and have been able to meet and interact with so many brave, strong, and joyful people.”

Erin Wadsworth, Co-Chair, Jim Tacy 5K to Defeat ALS

“I first heard about the Jim Tracy 5K to Defeat ALS during my freshman cross country season at University High School. After learning more about the event and Jim Tracy’s incredible legacy at UHS, I decided to join the committee as a sophomore, becoming part of the fundraising subcommittee. Since then, I’ve worked as the fundraising subcommittee chair, before becoming an event co-chair this year.”

Poppy Chrisman, Co-Chair, Jim Tacy 5K to Defeat ALS

Giving the gift of themselves: Our Chapter’s Volunteer Committee Members

Giving the gift of themselves: Our Chapter’s Volunteer Committee Members

The Golden West Chapter is grateful to those who generously share their significant gifts of time, expertise, leadership, compassion, and funding in support of the ALS community. The Chapter’s volunteer leadership are passionate about our mission and vision. We deeply appreciate these volunteers for who they are and what they do to support families facing ALS, and to fuel the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS.