Keith Worthington was born and raised in Wichita, Kan. After attending college at the University of Missouri, he married his high school sweetheart, Sue. Keith soon became a successful vice president of marketing with Woolf Brothers, an upscale, traditional Kansas City clothier.
In 1971, Worthington’s marketing acumen led him to design a campaign around the Kansas City Royals baseball team’s newest rookie, George Brett. The concept was to transform this beach boy into a Midwest preppie. As the campaign developed, Worthington and Brett became good friends. It was in 1971 that Worthington first noticed symptoms that would later be identified as ALS.
Worthington – still an award-winning tennis player – was growing noticeably weaker in his legs. After a year plus of medical tests, he was diagnosed with ALS in 1973. When Brett learned of Worthington’s diagnosis, he was deeply disturbed.
Worthington immediately set out to learn all he could about ALS. Given the difficulty in finding much information in those days, he was determined to share what he learned with others who shared his plight, and to be sure as many people as he could reach learned about this disease. He was also determined to increase research, which in those days was woefully lacking.
In 1978, Worthington and his wife, Sue, started support group meetings and a newsletter; they also traveled throughout Kansas and Missouri visiting with others with ALS.
In 1985 The Keith Worthington ALS Society was officially Incorporated.
In 1988 The Keith Worthington ALS Society became a proud member of The ALS Association, changing the name to The ALS Association Keith Worthington Chapter.
In 1993 a second office in central Kansas was opened, and in 1997 a third office in central Missouri followed. The final expansion happened in 2001 when Nebraska was added to the service area. What was once a local, grassroots organization has become a multi-office, multi-state organization.
In 2014 to better communicate the multi-state Chapter service area, The Keith Worthington Chapter changed its name to The Mid-America Chapter. Today the chapter has four offices in three states and serves hundreds of families.