The ALS Association Florida Chapter Shines A Light On This Year's Ambassador of Hope Honorees

Board Chair Hampton Graham, CEO Ray Carson and Award recipient Molly Mahoney smile at the camera as she is being presented with a crystal plaque.

The ALS Association Florida Chapter Shines A Light On This Year's Ambassador of Hope Honorees

It was an honor and privilege to host our 9th Annual Hope & Help Symposium this year at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. We were so glad to be able to gather in person for the symposium for the first time since 2019. The symposium comprised informative demonstrations and sessions for individuals living with ALS, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and supporters of the ALS community. Over the next few weeks, we will share highlights from our expert speakers and full access to the symposium presentations for those who could not attend this year's in-person event. 

Highlighting Hope

Our symposium is titled Hope and Help for a good reason. It is the dedication of our staff, volunteers, community partners, individuals living with ALS spreading awareness, our supporters who help advocate for medical research, and our clients and their caregivers who, even amid an ALS diagnosis, continue to find ways to help the ALS community. 

Each year our awards ceremony honors individuals or organizations who encompass and embody the meaning of hope. Our Ambassador of Hope award was created several years ago to recognize volunteers, people living with ALS, caregivers, or advocates who have made outstanding contributions to furthering the ALS of Florida Chapter’s work. Over the years, nearly 50 people and organizations have received this award.

Image
Board Chair Hampton Graham, CEO Ray Carson and Award recipient John Cannistra smile at the camera as she is being presented with a crystal plaque.
Board Chair, Hampton Graham, (left)
and CEO, Ray Carson, (right) present
the Ambassador of Hope Award to
John Cannistra (center).  

2022 Ambassador of Hope Honoree: John Cannistra

John Cannistra, Ambassador of Hope honoree, has been one of our most dedicated and involved volunteers over the last 10 years at the ALS Florida Chapter. He lost his beloved wife, Kathy, ten years ago to ALS. Since then, he has honored her memory by serving families in Florida who are battling ALS.

John was elected to the Florida Chapter Board of Directors in 2011 and has played a role on every committee during his tenure, including serving as Chairman of the Board in FY2018-19 and FY2019-2020, helping set the stage for the rapid growth of Florida Chapter programs and services. In his current role as Immediate Past Chairman, he is an active member of the Board’s executive and finance committees. He also represents the Florida Chapter on the national Board of Representatives.

His board term is set to expire at the end of this year. Recently, the Florida Chapter board has asked him to serve as an honorary life member of the board, only the second individual to be named to that distinction in the chapter’s history.

Congratulations, John!

Image
Board Chair Hampton Graham, CEO Ray Carson and Award recipient Molly Mahoney smile at the camera as she is being presented with a crystal plaque.
Board Chair, Hampton Graham, (left) and
CEO, Ray Carson, present Molly Mahoney
(center) with the Ambassador of
Hope Award.

2022 Ambassador of Hope Honoree: Molly Mahoney

Molly Mahoney, Ambassador of Hope award honoree, is a native of New York City but currently resides in Orlando, Florida. Molly was diagnosed with ALS in October 2019, only a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses, ALS clinics, and the Florida Chapter to virtual platforms. Despite the challenges ALS and the COVID-19 shutdown placed in her way, she has always done what she could to assist others with ALS in Orlando.

Molly has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about ALS through her active participation in the Orlando Walk to Defeat ALS and the Orlando CEO Soak. She remains a frequent and active participant in the Chapter’s Central Florida support group, and she is admired for her positive attitude as well as her willingness to offer advice to others who are newer to their diagnosis.

Congratulations, Molly!

2022 Patti Palmer Award Winner: Christine Bright

Image
Board Chair Hampton Graham, CEO Ray Carson and Award recipient Christine Bright smile at the camera as she is being presented with a crystal plaque.
Board Chair, Hampton Graham, (left)
and CEO, Ray Carson, (right) present
the Patti Palmer Award to Christine
Bright (center).  

The Patti Palmer Award was created in memory of the ALS Florida Chapter’s first Executive Director, Patti Palmer. Patti worked with the ALS Florida Chapter from 1987 up until August 2019. "I had the opportunity to work with her for only a few months and learned quickly that in many ways she represented the very soul of the Florida Chapter staff team," said Ray Carson, CEO of ALS Florida Chapter. 

The Patti Palmer Award is presented annually to a current or former staff member of The ALS Association who has exemplified excellence in helping to move forward our organizational mission.

In 1998, Christine was the ALS of Florida Chapter's first Care Services Director. Since the Chapter didn’t have a staff of care service professionals like we do today, she formed partnerships with outside agencies and trained their staff to represent the Chapter and deliver our programs. She led the care services department for over a decade and slowly assembled staff to help implement her vision. Christine is largely responsible for building the foundation for today’s programs and services. 

“I can’t begin to count all I have learned from her – she was a true role model. Patients came first in everything she did and every decision she made.” - staff member nomination.

Congratulations, Christine!

Thank You

We want to extend a big thank you to the medical professionals, caregivers, ALS community and our gracious sponsors and vendors for supporting this event. Without you, this event would not be possible. 

To view our full symposium album please visit our Facebook page. If you would like to view the symposium presentations and awards ceremony, please bookmark this blog post and check back soon for a link to the video recording. 

We are already looking forward to seeing everyone next year! 

Join the conversation. Please comment below.

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
1 + 17 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.