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Thoughts from Ron: Spring 2017 Newsletter

20 years ago

Spring 1997…

I remember it almost like yesterday…

Little did I know the choices I’d soon make would lead me to discover the work that was before me. Some may call it fate. It was twenty years ago I tended to and cared for Gordon Heald. A man who with his wife Betsy and myself embarked on a journey few could imagine.

My tending to and caring for Gordon began in the Spring of 1997.

As weeks and months passed he became a friend…a mentor…a teacher and a benefactor. We spent a great deal of time together talking, sitting and discussing life in the way that Gordon could at the time. In a quiet moment of contemplation, early on in his diagnosis, he would ask “Why me?” My response was, “maybe having this diagnosis now will impact the life of a person you would meet along the way, the paperboy, someone at work, a person you saw at the hockey game, you may have no idea how or why or what it means, but they will be impacted. Little did I imagine what was to follow.

In truth, Gordon’s circumstance reached far beyond what any of us could have envisioned. He unknowingly impacted thousands upon thousands of lives through his and Betsy’s support for CCALS. Because of Gordon’s diagnosis and circumstances an extraordinary organization has been created. He inspired the unique model of CCALS, that in a perfect
world would be replicated many times over.

And today, 20 years later, I have seen the growth and evolution of CCALS to serve thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts, across the US and around the world. We have held many workshops and gatherings. We have developed productive partnerships through ALS One; through our work with the neurologists and clinical staff at Mass General Hospital and UMASS Medical in Worcester; and through the extraordinary research group, ALS TDI. We are building our Education and Retreat Center which will begin operating at the end of 2017. And I have been blessed to find my life’s work. These are a few examples of what is possible and how one life can transform so many…. the work continues.

Twenty years…I look back with gratitude in honoring Gordon’s life and the memory of countless others as well as honoring all those we serve.

With deep Gratitude, thank you Gordon and Betsy,

In Service,

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