Les Turner ALS Foundation to honor Mindy Evans-Williams and Dr. Robert L. Sufit at Hope Through Caring Gala

  • Mindy Evan-Williams is joined by her family at the 2018 "Hope Through Caring" Gala. At this year's gala, Evan-Williams will be one of the honorees, along with Dr. Robert L. Sufit, a neurologist with Northwestern Medicine.

    Mindy Evan-Williams is joined by her family at the 2018 "Hope Through Caring" Gala. At this year's gala, Evan-Williams will be one of the honorees, along with Dr. Robert L. Sufit, a neurologist with Northwestern Medicine. Courtesy of Jean Lachat

 
Submitted by Beth Richman
Updated 2/26/2019 7:53 PM

Since being diagnosed with ALS in September 1992, Mindy Evans-Williams of Manhattan, Illinois, has received individualized support and resources from the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

To show her appreciation and to help others facing their own experiences with ALS, Mindy generously pays it forward with gifts and financial donations to directly benefit other people living with ALS (PALS) and their families as well as the foundation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Saturday, March 9, the Les Turner ALS Foundation will honor Mindy for her kindness and commitment to the fight against ALS at the Hope Through Caring Gala.

Held at the trendy new Rockwell on the River in Chicago, the gala will attract more than 500 guests and feature a balloon raffle, paddle raise and music by The Chicago Players.

WGN-TV political analyst Paul Lisnek will serve as the event emcee.

"Mindy gives because she feels pleasure in giving and is quite humble about receiving any recognition for her generosity," said Mindy's sister Melissa Wilder. "She genuinely wants to give back to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, as their team has guided us through the many unknowns of ALS. They have been there every step of the way to answer questions and provide support."

Mindy, her daughter McKenna and their extended family, including Mindy's seven siblings and their children, have supported the Les Turner ALS Foundation events throughout the years. They have attended the "Hope Through Caring" Gala, Strike Out ALS 5K Run and 1 Mile Run, Walk & Roll, and ALS Walk for Life. Soon Melissa will begin planning her eighth annual Tag Days drive in Tinley Park in May during ALS Awareness Month.

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Mindy has lost the ability to use her arms and legs, and is dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. As the disease affects her throat muscles, Mindy's speech is slow and slurred. Despite her physical limitations, Mindy's mind is healthy and her sense of humor strong. The average survival for someone affected by ALS is three to five years. For a small percentage of people like Mindy, the disease progresses very slowly.

Living with ALS can make outings, especially those among large crowds, difficult, so as a way to share in her love of sports without the chaos of a Major League Baseball park, Mindy hosted PALS and their families in her private Guaranteed Rate skybox. Not once, not twice. Four different times.

"Mindy embodies the spirit of the Hope Through Caring Award through her leadership and commitment to inspiring hope and supporting the ALS community," said Andrea Pauls Backman, CEO of the Les Turner ALS Foundation. "Though battling ALS herself, she is always thinking about how to help others facing this disease. It is our honor to shine the light on Mindy and thank her for her life-changing generosity."

In addition to the Hope Through Caring Award, the Les Turner ALS Foundation will present the first ever Harvey and Bonny Gaffen Advancements in ALS Award at the March 9 event. Named for two of the Les Turner ALS Foundation's co-founders, the inaugural award will be presented to Robert L. Sufit, MD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Over the course of his 17 years as a neurologist at the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, Dr. Sufit has helped thousands of families affected by ALS. His dedication toward creating individualized treatments and working tirelessly to further ALS research through his more than 90 scientific publications, make him a most deserving recipient of this award.

The Hope Through Caring Award honors those whose commitment to the fight against ALS has helped raise funds for research, provide services for patients and families and increase public awareness.

The Harvey and Bonny Gaffen Advancements in ALS Award recognizes either an individual significant advancement in ALS research and clinical care or a body of work dedicated to furthering ALS research, treatment or care.

Founded in 1977, the Les Turner ALS Foundation is the leader in comprehensive ALS care in the Chicago area. An individualized approach ensures each person living with the disease receives the best quality of care, and the local community of support provides their loved ones with answers and encouragement. The Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine is led by the most well-respected and successful clinicians and researchers in the field, advancing vital care and research in pursuit of life-enhancing treatments and a cure.

About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a terminal progressive disease that causes muscle weakness, difficulty speaking and swallowing and, generally, complete paralysis. Every 90 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies of ALS. While some symptoms are treatable, there is no known prevention or cure for ALS.

To learn more about the Les Turner ALS Foundation, call (847) 679-3311 or visit lesturnerals.org.

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