When Scott Glassford’s father, John, started to show symptoms of ALS in 2008, Scott and his wife Beth did not know where to turn or what to expect. Scott and Beth researched the disease and available resources online, and together with Scott’s mother and sister, found the care they needed with Dr. Glenn Mackin and entire team at The ALS Association Treatment Center at Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Dr. Mackin and the staff provided the Glassfords with comfort and support as well as knowledge of the myriad of programs and services funded by The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter. They are especially appreciative of both the Chapter’s Equipment Loan Program and Van Transportation Program which John used to travel to medical appointments.
John’s progressive journey with bulbar ALS was a challenging learning experience for the entire family. Before the diagnosis, they knew little about ALS, but today, they understand a great deal and know first-hand needed for a family living with How much extensive care can improve the quality of life for a family facing ALS.
After Scott’s father passed away, Scott and Beth wanted to find their own ways to give back to the ALS cause. Beth got involved with the Chapter’s Patient Services Committee, listening and learning and providing valuable input for expanding care for people. Beth took ideas from Chapter Board Chair Ellyn Phillips and then Beth started to talk with Chapter nurse Gail Houseman, who told her about the Visiting Volunteer program.
For several years, Beth has visited with a person with ALS after Gail connected them and Beth has visited with that person’s wife after he entered skilled care. The Chapter’s Visiting Volunteer Program is a meaningful way for Beth to honor her father-in -law and offer companionship and time to those with whom she feels a unique bond.
In 2014, while serving as a member of the Patient Services Committee, Beth learned that the ALS Family Day at Longwood Gardens would not be funded. Beth and Scott talked together about how Scott’s father loved Longwood Gardens and Scott decided that this was something that was too important to let slip away for other families. Scott and Beth committed to making sure that the Longwood Gardens day could continue, and they have provided funding and support so that more ALS families could take part in this event.
Without the dedication of Beth and Scott Glassford, ALS Family Day at Longwood Gardens may very well have come to an end years ago. Instead, dozens of families affected by ALS have been able to enjoy the beautiful gardens, come together for lunch and relax. People with ALS from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey come every year, many who might never have visited Longwood Gardens otherwise.
Beth and Scott continue to donate in other ways and to support both the ALS research and care programs. They listen to the needs of ALS families from throughout the region. Most importantly, they give of their time and their energy.
“Volunteering with The ALS Association is a meaningful way to make a difference,” said Beth. “There are so many opportunities that if you aren’t doing one thing, you can do another. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask how you can help, and the Chapter will match your skills and interests with their needs.”
Thank you, Scott and Beth, for paying tribute to Scott’s father and giving so much to our ALS families in many ways.