I was happily surprised last Monday to receive the ALS Association Rasmussen advocate of the year award. Jill and ALSA’s Steve Gibson tricked me by saying I should prepare a few remarks for the luncheon. I was a bit suspicious when three of my partners from Venable showed up, but the firm has been honored by ALSA for a massive ice bucket challenge involving nearly 100 people last year, so they fit right in with the DC/MD/VA chapter tables among 700 people from across the nation.
Eventually the introduction clued me in. For the first time I rolled up to a stage. Jill helped me receive the beautiful crystal award from CEO Barbara Newhouse. Fortunately I had typed “can you hear me” in my Speech Assistant talking app because it took a while to get the microphone working. Then I ran my speech.
I savored the standing ovation joyfully, with gratitude, and compassion for the crowd of people with ALS, caregivers, survivors, and supporters. Perhaps it was vanity that made it hard to leave.
Unable to say thank you, I smiled and nodded to those who congratulated me afterwards as I made my way to a gathering of people with ALS, most in wheelchairs, for a photograph. We were quite a mob.