Join the Golden West Chapter in celebrating Pride Month this June!
The Golden West Chapter takes great pride in welcoming anyone to participate in all our services. This June we highlight LGBTQIA+ individuals, allies and family members within our ALS community.
My ALS Story - Jim and John
Before 2011, Jim Obergefell knew very little about ALS until his partner of 21 years, John Arthur, was diagnosed with the disease. Living in Ohio, they connected with the Central & Southern Ohio Chapter and received critically-needed services and support. Jim and John decided to marry in 2013, and their quest for spousal rights would change the lives of LQBTQIA+ people all across the nation.
We invite you to watch this inspiring video and learn more about how the remarkable love story of two individuals within our ALS community helped fuel a historic human rights victory for marriage equality.
Golden West celebrates Jim for his many efforts as a civil rights activist. We are forever grateful for his efforts as an ALS advocate, and we will continue to spotlight his extraordinary story in a future series of videos.
Anyone touched by ALS can help advance the search for effective treatments and cures. Sharing your experiences, whether you're a person living with ALS, a family member, friend, or interested in supporting our cause, is a powerful way of raising awareness and funds in support of our ALS community.
LGBTQIA+ ALS Online Support Group
The Golden West Chapter was the first organization to launch a dedicated LGBTQIA+ ALS Online Support Group. All LGBTQIA+ people living with ALS and their family, friends, loved ones, and allies are welcome to attend this meeting, which is held online every month on the third Tuesday. You can contact Daniel Potapshyn, Support Group Facilitator, for more information.
Remembering a Historic Day in the Supreme Court
It was on June 26, 2015, that the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision on marriage equality when they ruled that the Constitution guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states. The civil rights case, “Obergefell v. Hodges,” centered around two individuals within our ALS community.
John Arthur was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. In 2013, John and his partner of more than 20 years, Jim Obergefell, decided they wanted to get married. John was in the final stages of ALS, and the state of Ohio didn’t allow same-sex marriage. The couple raised $13,000 for a medically-equipped plane to fly them to Maryland, where they exchanged vows on the tarmac. Just three months and 11 days after they were wed, John died of ALS at age 48.
The couple’s focus was on spousal rights, which included for John to be listed as “Married” on his death certificate, with Jim as “Surviving Spouse,” and for both to be able to be buried in a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses. Through a series of events, their case was consolidated with three others that were challenging state same-sex marriage laws, and the Supreme Court agreed to review the issue.
Watch how one family facing ALS helped fuel this historic human rights victory and be inspired by their remarkable love story.
Building on Diversity and Inclusion
Now and always, our values drive our mission, and our principles guide our vision. We recognize that every person brings a unique perspective and experience that can help advance the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS. Inclusion for all people impacted by ALS and advocating for equal access to ALS treatments and services is how we live our commitment to the ALS community. It is only together that we will defeat ALS.