(Contest Nominee) ALS Association Rocky Mountain Supporting Colorado Families & Fighting for Cure

ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter is one of seven nonprofits nominated in Citywide Banks CHARITY HAND-UP CONTEST taking place on Facebook from November 2-22, 2015. The public is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between the charities based on the voting results. CLICK HERE for voting page.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), aka Lou Gehrig Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually causing paralysis and the loss of breathing functions. It is always fatal. Only 20 percent of people with ALS live more than five years after being diagnosed and much fewer live 10 years or more. The ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter is committed to supporting local families impacted by the disease. It is one of seven Colorado nonprofits nominated in the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place November 2-22, 2015.

ALS caught the social media community by storm last year with viral videos of people being doused with frigid water in the Ice Bucket Challenge, a grassroots public awareness campaign and fundraiser. Now, every August until there’s a cure, ALS promotes the campaign. This past August, even Citywide Banks top leadership and more than 30 other employees took the challenge.

But, in spite of the attention, and welcome influx of research dollars, ALS still remains a devastating disease for both the patient and his or her family and friends.

That’s where the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter, founded in 1996, steps in. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for the ALS patient and their families in the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, by providing support services throughout the progression of the disease. While the national organization focuses on research and advocacy, the Rocky Mountain Chapter focuses on helping local patients and families.

“Our chapter provides care, comfort and a community that links patients and families to others who share this common struggle,” says Beatrix Kamoen, Development Manager at the nonprofit. “We also strive to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy.”

ALS support services are especially needed here in Colorado because of the large military veteran population. It’s been found that military veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the civilian population, for reasons unknown.

The chapter’s comprehensive care services start with a patient consultation, in home, office, by phone, email or Skype. “We meet with patients in any capacity, whether they’re near or far,” says Kamoen.

Depending on where the patient is with the progression of the disease, they offer a whole host of assisted technologies and equipment such as wheelchairs and communication devices that patients and caregivers can test out and/or borrow to make daily life more manageable.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter also provides support to the ALS Clinic at the Colorado Neurological Institute where ALS patients receive expert care and resources to help them throughout the progression of the disease. It has been noted that people with ALS who attend an ALS-specific clinic tend to live longer.

They host six monthly support groups and provide a respite grant program to give caregivers some needed time off. And when the time comes, they also offer bereavement services which, Kamoen says, are a unique function of the Rocky Mountain Chapter.

“We recognized the need to continue working with the family after the patient is gone because ALS is a disease that affects the entire family,” says Kamoen.

In addition to helping patients and families with care, equipment, educational information and support groups, the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter also does advocacy work on behalf of the ALS community, and funds critical research.

“The ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter is the only organization solely focused on helping those living with ALS in the region. Eighty-six percent of the funds raised here in Colorado remain in Colorado to support our ALS community,” says Kamoen.

In order to raise the needed funds to provide services, support and research dollars, the Rocky Mountain Chapter relies on volunteers to help in their office and at events. Financial contributions and fundraising participants are always welcome, and needed.

If ALS Association Receives Most Votes in Contest
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would help purchase communication devices and equipment for the chapter’s Equipment Loan Program, which Kamoen says are always in high demand. This equipment helps those living with ALS maintain independence and dignity, and ease some of the difficulties experienced daily when living with a progressive disease.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ALSARockyMountain.org or follow the chapter on Facebook at Facebook.com/ALSArockymountain.

How to Give ALS Association a Hand-Up

  1. VOTE FOR ALS Association on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page
  2. POST A COMMENT about ALS on the Citywide Banks Facebook page
  3. SHARE posts about this contest with your family, friends, and coworkers
  4. “LIKE” the Chapter’s Facebook Page (the charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers during contest will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)

How to Cast Your Vote – November 2-22, 2015
The contest is open to the general public within Colorado (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 21-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contests
Citywide Banks is a 52-year-old, family operated, Colorado focused business bank that is passionate about supporting Colorado charities. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contests, seven Colorado causes are nominated by our employees to be showcased through social media and in our branches. Then, we ask the community to vote on Facebook for their favorite. Based on final vote standings, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. More contest details are at CitywideBanks.com/contest/.



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