Sarah Carter ’23
There are manifold ways that students can become involved in the campus community here at the College of the Holy Cross. From performing as a member of the Dance Ensemble, to promulgating information on safe relationships as a Relationship Peer Educator, to writing for one of the College’s literary journals or magazines, there are myriad opportunities for students to participate in groups and organizations on campus. Some groups boast large followings, while others are lesser known; however, each club carries within itself a particular mission whose purpose and potential impact extends far beyond the breadth of its reputation on campus. I am pleased to introduce you to one such club that is just beginning to burgeon. Meet the ALS Advocates of Holy Cross.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in muscle weakness, loss of motor control, and eventual death. Reports suggest that the disease affects more than 15,000 people in the United States alone, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed every year. At Holy Cross, the ALS Advocates endeavor to propagate information about ALS to the College and Worcester communities and to support ALS patients via a special partnership with the ALS Association of Massachusetts.
The program was co-founded by Cecilia Motherway ‘25 and Maya Guillote ‘25, both of whom lost a parent to ALS. Both Motherway and Guillote remain “passionate about continuing to offer solace and fundraising support to ALS patients” and are excited to continue to do this at Holy Cross. This semester, the program is looking to initiate its patient outreach program and host a number of fundraising events. Working in partnership with the patient services chair of the Massachusetts ALS Association, the club is in the process of sending out letters to ALS patients in the Worcester area inquiring about interest in patient outreach. The club hopes to pair its members with individual patients and foster meaningful connections within the chapter via phone calls and/or emails. In the long-term, the patient services center at the Massachusetts ALS Association would like to extend this outreach program to other Colleges and cultivate a more robust support system for the fifty-or-so patients in the Worcester area. Motherway and Guillote are also looking to facilitate a medical equipment drop-off program (wherein members will bring medical supplies to patients’ doorsteps) in partnership with the Association, as well.
Beyond this volunteer-based program, the club has plans to host the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on campus next month. While not all the details have been released, the event is likely to feature food trucks, guest speakers, fundraising opportunities and raffles, ALS Association merchandise, music, and undoubtedly, buckets of ice water. With regards to this event, Motherway and Guillotte commented, “We are so excited and are eager to involve Holy Cross students and the Worcester community in our efforts to support this cause. We want this to be an event for both the ALS community in Worcester, as well as for our campus community here.” As the two co-chairs continue to formalize their plans for the event, they hope to successfully attract interest among students, families, and professors to join in the day’s fundraising activities. (Who doesn’t want to see their favorite professor soaked in ice water?!) In the early months of next semester, the club also has plans to volunteer and participate in Polar Park’s ALS Walk.The program is actively recruiting new members and only recently just had its first official meeting. Students interested in supporting the club’s mission can contact Motherway or Guillotte at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, who are looking to welcome as many new members as possible. More information is available on MyHC, where students can also join. Finally, be on the lookout for ways to participate in the upcoming Ice Bucket Challenge!