Think 5: Fifth Annual Walk Steps Up for those Living with ALS & MS

2013 “Walk for Living” Presented by Chelsea Jewish Foundation and the Herb Chambers Companies Sunday, October 6 at 10am on Admirals Hill in Chelsea

Patrick O’Brien was just 30 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS. An award-winning filmmaker, Patrick had made moving films about the disabled, never imagining that he would be among that population. Today, nine years after his diagnosis, Patrick is still writing and producing thought provoking films thanks to his indomitable spirit, revolutionary technology and the skilled, nurturing staff at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL).

The fifth annual ALS & MS Walk for Living honors Patrick and the other ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) residents by raising funds for improved healthcare at the Foundation’s facilities and residences.

This year, the two mile walk will be held on Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Chelsea Jewish Foundation on Admirals Hill at 201 Captains Row. Two exciting events have been added to the roster: an Antique Car Show featuring unique and beautiful classic cars and a “Friends & Family Day” celebration will be held in conjunction with the walk.

The LFCL is the first urban Green House skilled nursing facility in the country. Residents who are completely immobilized are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades – just by using their eyes. This cutting edge technology is showcased in two of the 10 homes that make up the Center.

“Our ALS & MS residents display such incredible courage and powers of inspiration,” states Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, the non-profit organization that oversees the LFCL. “They show all of us, every day, how you can live life to the fullest even after being diagnosed with a debilitating disease. These new models of care, featuring the latest in modern technology, accommodations and amenities, enable residents to live fulfilling and productive lives. It is our fervent hope to build more of these specialized care residences.”

For the third consecutive year, the Herb Chambers Companies will sponsor the Walk for Living.

“I am thrilled to be involved with such a motivating event,” said Herb Chambers.

After touring the Center a few years back, Herb Chambers understood the critical need to raise funds.

“The Center had a profound effect on me in terms of how modern technology can give these residents back their independence and improve their quality of life,” he said.

Most recently, Chambers donated a brand new, state-of-the art-factory-built MV-1 (Mobility Vehicle One) to the LFCL residents. The limited edition, one-of-a-kind wheelchair accessible van, is widely acclaimed for its “revolutionizing mobility.”

“This van represents a way to help the Center’s residents expand their horizons,” said Chambers.

Donna Picariello, an MS resident, attributes the personal care at the Center as a crucial factor in distinguishing the LFCL from other skilled nursing centers.

“Care is the number one priority,” said Picariello. “The certified nursing assistant ratio is one to three; there is a nurse on every floor 24/7.”

She said the exceptional services, surroundings and staff are a tremendous help in maintaining her spirit and sense of well-being.

As she said, “It is true there is no place like home, but the LFCL is really the next best thing.”

WCVB-TV’s Susan Wornick is the honorary chairperson this year.

“It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know the residents,” she said. “I have met people who are, all at once, inspiring, courageous and fun. I am extremely proud to be involved with the Leonard Florence Center for Living.”

The 2013 Walk for Living will take place at 10 a.m., Oct. 6, at the Leonard Florence Center, 201 Captains Row on Admirals Hill in Chelsea. To support the Walk for Living by sponsoring a team or to make a much-needed donation; please visit or call Kristen Donnelly at 617-889-8740.

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