“Being nominated for the Hero’s Award has helped me realize how much of a difference the efforts my friends, family and I have made,” said Pattie Hamlin of Nokomis. “It has also helped me see the memories that I have been able to create with those I love while going through these processes. I would like to thank you all for helping bring to light both of these gifts.”
Hamlin, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2016, was the recipient of this year’s Hero’s Award in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 25. She was recognized by the National ALS Association for her efforts in fighting ALS.
“Like many Americans, I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge several years ago, not really knowing much about ALS,” Hamlin said in her speech. “Shortly after being diagnosed, I began researching and learned how devastating this disease really is.”
As part of the ceremony, the national organization had a 15-minute presentation outlining all the things Hamlin has accomplished in the last few years, including fundraising efforts, research and providing overall motivation for the ALS community.
“In those early months, I struggled emotionally with the outlook that was now my reality,” Hamlin said. “Eventually, I chose to use my situation as motivation to try and make a difference for the future of ALS. My family and friends have supported me on this path. I imagine it was just as therapeutic for them as it was for me, to have something positive and goal-oriented to focus on.”
The presentation also included three speakers, including one of Hamlin’s daughters, Sabrina Jones, who shared what Hamlin means to them.
To conclude the ceremony, Hamlin gave a speech about her journey with ALS.
“One of the main ways I chose to make a difference was through fundraising,” Hamlin said. “I got together a team of close friends and family to begin helping me plan and organize events. The opportunities for us to gather and make memories were endless; we held informal planning meetings at the winery, get-togethers at our houses to divy up fundraiser swag, and of course the actual fundraisers themselves. It wasn’t until I began putting this speech together that I realized the memories all of the fundraising provided us, which we otherwise wouldn’t have had.”
To date, Hamlin has raised $89,000 for the ALS Association, mostly through the efforts of friends, family and the Montgomery County community.
“I also decided to make a difference through continued research,” Hamlin concluded. “I have attended countless conferences to learn more about the disease, try to understand its complexities and share my own experience with it. I have also participated in several clinical trials to help find advancements through medications and therapies. Each of these conferences and doctor appointments have given me quality travel time with those I love, another silver lining that cannot be overlooked.”