Arlington Heights advocate for those with cerebral palsy has died

Updated 11/9/2018 7:58 PM
  • Jim Moser is with his grandson Ben Gancayco, who inspired him to work to get a center in Lake Zurich devoted to treatment of people with cerebral palsy.

    Jim Moser is with his grandson Ben Gancayco, who inspired him to work to get a center in Lake Zurich devoted to treatment of people with cerebral palsy. Courtesy of the Moser family

  • Jim Moser

    Jim Moser

After Jim Moser's grandson, Ben Gancayco, spent four years going from northwest suburban Crystal Lake to southwest suburban Countryside to obtain intensive treatment for his cerebral palsy, Moser decided Northwest suburban residents needed a better alternative.

A little more than a decade ago, the Arlington Heights resident who owned businesses in the HVAC and custom homebuilding industries, rallied friends, family and colleagues to raise more than $100,000 to open an offshoot of the Center for Independence Through Conductive Education at St. Francis de Sales Church in Lake Zurich. It since has served 75 children with physical disabilities, providing more than $1.5 million in charitable care.

Moser, 75, died Tuesday of heart disease.

"Jim brought it outside his family and wanted to serve other kids, too," said Pat Herbst, executive director and founder of the Countryside-based organization. "Jim shared the center's firm commitment that no child should ever be turned away from services due to lack of income or insurance coverage."

Kelly O'Malley-Sherkey of Mount Prospect, whose son John Sherkey, 14, has attended the center for the last 10 years, remembers Moser being the one during appeals at annual fundraisers who would stand up and commit $10,000 -- after already donating Bears-Packers tickets to the auction.

"He's the most generous person I've ever met," O'Malley-Sherkey said.

She said the center is an amazing resource for people in the area. It brings in "conductors" from Hungary, where the therapy was developed, and uses occupational and physical therapists to push children with cerebral palsy and other physical impediments to move in ways that enable them to lead more independent lives. The center charges $10 an hour for therapy, much less than such services would normally cost, she said.

She said her son has made his best friend through the program. While not able to talk, he can now interact through nonverbal communication skills he has learned, she added.

"My son would not get the therapy he needs if it were not for this small charity," she said. "They've taught him how to communicate."

One of Moser's daughters, Jackie Bathery, is program manager in Lake Zurich, while another Jamie Gancayco, is Ben's mom and a board member for the charity. Memorials can be made to the charity at

Moser's funeral is at 10 a.m. today at St. Edna Catholic Church, 2525 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights.

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