The 2020 Rehoboth Beach Walk to Defeat ALS on September 12 will be different. Participants won’t head to the iconic boardwalk and cut the ribbon as they have these past 12 years. Instead, they will be Walking YOUR Way wherever they choose - as the Walk goes virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.* One man who will definitely be walking HIS Way is our September Volunteer of the Month, Steve Lee, who has been on the Walk committee since 2010. Steve is the “boots on the ground” man…the one the Walk committee depends on year after year to create fundraisers, engage people throughout the state, set up, clean up, and promote the event on WDEL radio. However, Steve wants to make sure we all know that “It is the rest of the committee who work year-round to make the event a success.”
There have been many memorable Walk moments. In 2018, torrential downpours did not dissuade the walk teams and they not only showed up, they continued their fundraising! The Chapter’s Walk Manager, Ruth Butler adds, “The entire Walk committee is amazing and work together so well and I thank Steve for his dedication.” Every year, with his trusty dog, Cassidy, the Walk mascot (who has sadly since passed away), Steve is there for the duration to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible. Nearly 400 walkers trek two miles raising funds and awareness for the ALS mission. For Steve, every year is memorable as he honors the memory of his mother, Carole Anne Lee, who lost her life to ALS in January 2010 just one year after her diagnosis.
Steve’s Walk Team CALART using the name of his mom’s event business, represents her initials (CAL) and the “ART” reflects his mother’s artistic talents. The team has only six members, but with Steve at the helm it is mighty. Plus, Steve’s dad matches whatever money he raises for his Walk team. Steve’s contributions also include engaging sponsors such as the Green Turtle Restaurant and IG Burton Car Dealerships. He is the Walks premier raffle and 50/50 seller. Despite his very busy work schedule, he gives so much of himself to this event. His background as a project coordinator at Century Engineering and former positions including county and city planner and assistant town manager contribute to his highly organized energy which he funnels into giving back.
Steve’s mother’s battle with ALS was the impetus for his dedication to the ALS mission. He credits The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter with helping his mom and his family navigate the daily obstacles that often arise when someone is living with ALS. This included securing a wheelchair, using assistive technology, and the involvement of the Chapter’s caring staff who came to their home. The Chapter’s Delaware support group formed a bond and it’s where Steve met Joyce Paugh and Mary Ann Wollter, the Walk Chairs.
“I recall the Chapter being there for us and helping dad receive respite care, coordinating mom’s care, and how wonderful the entire staff was to our family. My contributions are the least I can do to help further ALS education, awareness, and research. We are the survivors of this disease…the family members and loved ones of people who are taken by ALS. Volunteering is how we can heal. I want to do all I can to see treatments moving forward and hope that with my help and that of other volunteers we can contribute to finding a cure to change the course of ALS.”
Five months into the COVID-19 shutdown, creative people like Steve keep finding ways to create. They will keep going and will be back on the Boardwalk, stronger than ever. They are the real and caring people, who like Steve, understand, stay and keep building. See you again in 2021, Steve.
*Be sure to check out the Chapter’s Facebook page @alsphiladelphia on September 13 for fun and inspirational Rehoboth Walk to Defeat live moments contributed by many dedicated walkers.