The Legacy Society
The Legacy Society
Meet Our Legacy Society Members
Dreams Don’t Die: One Family’s Story of Hope

Meet Legacy Society Member Claire Peterson

Claire Peterson (thumbnail)
Claire Peterson

Claire and Rod Peterson were a successful TV writing-producing team. Ernie Wallengren, one of Claire’s five children, would follow in her footsteps and also go on to have a career writing for television, working on such shows as Life Goes On, Baywatch, and Doc.

After experiencing weakness in his legs and frequent falls, Ernie was diagnosed with ALS in 2001. Rod and Claire, who were retired and living in Arizona, relocated to southern California to be near Ernie. “It was there that I first became aware of the daily challenges and heartbreaks of the disease,” Claire remembers. “Both the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of The ALS Association and the National Office were nearby, and we were able to take advantage of their support and the many services they offered.” Ernie lost his battle with ALS in May 2003. Ernie was 51, leaving behind a wife and five children. Before Ernie died, ALS approached the family about establishing a research fund in his name. “Ernie decided that stem cell research was ultimately the most promising approach to finding a cure for ALS, and so The E.F. Wallengren Fund for ALS Research was founded,” Claire says, to keep Ernie’s dream of a cure alive.

Recently, Claire was looking for ways to combine a gift to the ALS Association with income that would supplement her pension. “It seemed natural to take advantage of the Association’s gift annuity program. My donation not only provides me with generous payments but a helpful tax deduction as well.” Claire’s gift annuity has been earmarked for the Fund that bears her son’s name.

“I am gratified to have been able to make a substantial gift to the ALS Association, and I challenge anyone affected by ALS to research the various gift options the Association offers.” Claire urges. “Down the line, there will be a cure and you will want to know that you were a part of it.”

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