From the Desk of the Executive Director: January 2021

Happy New Year, Massachusetts!

A Happy New Year to the Massachusetts ALS community as we all seek to put 2020 in the rear view mirror. We begin 2021 with hope on the horizon that the world will be rid of COVID-19 and we can all seek some return to normalcy. However, it is apparent that we are still fighting against the virus’ most recent surge.

Over the last 10 months, our Chapter has closely followed the guidelines issued by CDC and Governor Baker and we continue to do so today. While our care services team is eager to get back into the community, the safety and well-being of our community and staff is paramount. While in-person visits remain on hold, the Chapter has in place guidelines for a phased re-opening when the CDC and Massachusetts allow for a safe return. These are decisions we take seriously and will communicate any policy changes immediately.

In recent months, I have highlighted that the Chapter is moving its CRM services to the Salesforce platform. The day is finally here and our Chapter has migrated to the new platform. Over time, this move will enhance our Chapter’s ability to work with our community. We are not unique in this endeavor as many of you have experienced the trials and tribulations of data source transitions. We humbly ask for your patience as we work through the kinks of moving our staff and data to the new system. And please, if there is an issue related to our work with you, let us know so we may address it.

Similarly, the move to Salesforce requires moving our fundraising and events to a new platform, which is scheduled to go live in March 2021. To avoid confusion, we will launch all our Walk and Ride fundraising pages when we move to the new system. We believe the new system will provide a much better end user experience for our Walk and Ride teams as well as others who utilize our platforms to fundraise for our Chapter.

With our move to the new systems and based upon conversations with our Worcester and Western MA Walk to Defeat team captains, both events will be moved to the Fall. We anticipated these moves as both events were part of our Fall 2020 event lineup. We are excited to have Worcester back as its own stand alone Walk and look forward to enhancing everyone’s experience this Fall. Please watch for event details in late winter/early spring.

Lastly, our care services team has been working incredibly hard to build an ALS resource page that will live on our new website. We anticipate this broad-based, comprehensive “Hub” to be available in February 2021.

Thank you all for working with us. We withstood COVID’s best shot and now we are poised to grow and make our ALS community even better. Be well and stay safe.

Author Information:

John Hedstrom is the Executive Director of The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter. John came to the Chapter by way of Washington, DC and California with an extensive background in health care advocacy and association executive leadership. He has effected change and served as the front-line voice for multiple national organizations, establishing himself as a trusted resource for many constituencies. John was born and raised in Massachusetts and now resides in the area with his wife and three children. In his tenure at The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter, John has worked tirelessly to lead the Massachusetts Chapter to the forefront of the ALS Association. He continues to prioritize providing our families with more comprehensive care services, funding additional research, and more robust advocacy efforts.

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