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MAY, 2020 AS ALS AWARENESS MONTH: WHAT’S HAPPENING, HAWAII?

Short answer is: None, in person. The past six years, Hawaii’s ALS Community celebrated May as ALS Awareness and Families Appreciation Month in many ways. Usually, the month starts with a series of Proclamations by local officials. The Governor’s Proclamation was read by the Governor in a solemn ceremony in the State Capitol Ceremony Room attended by patients, their families, caregivers, and representatives of the different service provider agencies in the state. With the pandemic continuing to rage in our…

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REFLECTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING: HOW ARE WE “BEHAVING” IT?

The World Health Organization handbook, “Managing Epidemics: Key Facts about Major Deadly Diseases,” identifies four different stages: 1) Emergence: the introduction of the disease into a community;2) Localized transmission: where cases of infection sporadically appear in a community;3) Amplification: where the germ is able to transmit from person to person and causes a sustained outbreak in the community, threatening to spread beyond it; and4) Reduction: decrease of human-to-human transmission of the germ because people develop immunity and/or effective interventions to…

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Gleason House for pALS: The House that a Post-Hurricane Celebrity Built

January 14, 2020, Kailua, HI: Tomorrow, coinciding with the opening of the 116th US Congress in Washington, a man in a power wheelchair will roll on to receive the US Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest civilian award given by Congress. It had been given to only 163 civilian entities, the first recipient being George Washington- the first President of the nation – in 1776. Steve Gleason, is truly a man of destiny. His celebrity arises from the confluence…

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Godspeed, Paul H. Gagnon: Beloved Friend

December 26, 2019, Kailua, HI. If there were something you would take away, say, from a short meeting with Paul Gagnon, it would be that his eyes twinkled even if talking about something serious. You’d notice he would follow a profound statement with a witty remark. Then his cheeks would soon crease in folds as his smile breaks and reaches his eyes. That’s how I remember Paul, the mustachio’ed patriarch of his large clan: his thoughtful ideas, steadfast calmness despite…

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An Open Letter to Bill Gates, on the Occasion of Receiving the Professor Hawking Fellowship Award

  Dear Bill, I just read your 2019 Professor Hawking Fellowship lecture delivered in Cambridge. I am grateful that you have taken up global health as focus for your philanthropy. My background is public (international) health, so I understood every bit of your concern.  I was born in the Philippines when it was still a developing nation.  In 1976, after graduation from Nursing, I joined the faculty of the UP Institute of Health Sciences. At that time, it was creating…

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Topical Presentations Keep ALSFH in Community’s Mind

October 23, 2019, Kailua, HI. Requests from a number of community-based organizations for presentations on several topics of interest, varying from “Exercises for the Elderly,” to “Nursing Management of the Patient with ALS,” keep ALSFH and its mission in the minds of the audience. It is customary to save a few minutes after presentations for a short spiel on ALSFH. Maylynn Wong, Manager of St. Francis Healthcare Volunteer Programs, organizes course offerings for groups of family caregivers interested in a…

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“Give ALOHA” to ALSFH #78937, by September 30!

September 23, 2019, Kailua, HI.  The annual “Give Aloha” Campaign of Foodland and Western Union Foundation in Hawaii started September 1st to continue the legacy of founder, Maurice “Sully” Sullivan of giving back to the community.  Sully’s Foundation matches individual contributions, dollar for dollar, up to $249.  Foodland gives more than $250,000 annually to non-profits that participate in the program. For the second time in a row, ALSFH signed up to participate in the  program. To donate to ALSFH, one simply…

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Mahalo Nui Loa to Oahu Nursery Growers Association!

September 14, 2019, Honolulu, HI.   The Oahu Nursery Growers Association (ONGA) once again has proven that it not only plants flora and foliage, it also plants goodwill in the community.  The 8-member hui of nursery growers holds an annual plant sale from which it donates a portion of the proceeds.  At this year’s event, on September 7 (Saturday) and 8 (Sunday), 2019, ALSFH was its designated beneficiary.  The weekend sale was held at the Washington Middle School cafeteria on S. King Street.       During the…

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Brian Burke, Katherine’s Li’l Brother, Dies at 61

Brian Burke’s life story was not always a sad one.  He was born the youngest of five children to Cecilia and Darrell Burke.  Like any health boy, Brian grew up with his family, which included Big Sis Katherine, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  Early life was the usual – elementary, high school, an Associate degree in college. He didn’t engage in any sport but football and basketball occupied his interest as a bed-bound spectator in the years he had ALS. Sometime before 2002, when…

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MAHALO, St. John Apostle and Evangelist Parish, for ALSFH Display Corner

July 23, 2019, Kailua, Hawaii. Last Saturday, July 20, 2019, The St. John Apostle and Evangelist (SJAE) Parish in Mililani staged its first ever Health and Well-being Fair at the Kipapa Park grounds. The fair was organized by the parish’s Health Ministry Committee, ably led by retired nurse Bonnie delos Santos. After the invocation and warmup Tai Chi exercises led by a community volunteer, Wini Fronda of Humana and parishioner Steven Santiago led the walk around the park perimeter. It…

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