ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

 

 

October Volunteer of the Month
Joan Miller

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"When I was diagnosed with ALS, my dad and his wife Joan found ways they could help me as well as others living with ALS. Over time Joan recognized the needs of families like ours. Unsurprisingly, she would volunteer her time and talents to The ALS Association to support all ALS families. We are immensely proud of my stepmother Joan and what she helped the Chapter accomplish."
                                                                                                      - Andrew Miller

In retirement, Al and Joan Miller built their dream home on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake 15 years ago. Al enjoyed keeping his yard perfectly landscaped and his garage and workshop meticulously organized. He shared his boat and home with family and friends and enjoyed vacations in St. John. However, Alzheimer's Disease was robbing his mind, and the Millers sold their property and moved back to the Philadelphia area in 2019.

Perfect Timing
During the lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Joan Miller discovered time she never knew existed, so she decided to benefit the lives of those in the ALS community. Her decision to share her time with The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter proved beneficial for Joan and the Chapter. Her stepson, Andrew Miller, was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, and Joan decided that helping at the Chapter's Ambler office would be a great fit.

It was.

Few volunteers have the skills and dedication to this type of work - it's not glamorous, but it is beyond helpful. Joan could use exemplary office skills she acquired early in her career at PECO and then later while working at Merck. She has spent the last three years inputting information into the Chapter's database and had never missed an opportunity to do so.

"Al and I felt helpless when Andy was diagnosed with ALS about seven years ago. We knew there wasn't anything we could do to make him better, and we were both unable to care for him physically. So, volunteering in the Chapter's office was a way of helping me and helping the organization helping Andy," remarked Joan.

She continued, "I am amazed at how he navigates and lives his life to the fullest. His use of assistive technology is truly inspirational - I marvel at his communication skill. I credit the Chapter with providing him with the tools needed to improve his life with ALS. Andy felt that the equipment loaned and the ALS care he receives are instrumental in his longevity and ability to "live" with this disease.

The Millers - Joan, Andrew, Joan's husband and Andrew's dad Al, Andrew's son Evan, daughter Elise, and wife Jackie at the Chapter's Mackler 5K in 2015.

Sadly Al (Andy's father) passed away in July, and Joan decided to move to North Carolina to be with her son Mike and his family. Joan's daughter, Jen, lives with her two young boys in Hatfield, PA. We hope that she continues to volunteer for the ALS mission. We here will miss her smile and positive can-do attitude, and she has truly left a void in the administrative tasks she performed. "I get a good feeling about myself, knowing that I can help the cause somehow and help Andy simultaneously," said Joan.

Joan, thank you for your years of helping in honor of Andy. His Run/Walk team, One-and-a-half-legs, will again participate in this year's Mackler 5K on November 13. Joan would love for you to support Andrew and his team here: http://web.alsa.org/goto/oneandahalflegs2022