Thank You Lisa and Randy Walker!
As any family affected by ALS will tell you, ALS is hard. It’s a challenging disease for the person with ALS and for their caregiver and extended support system. It’s a challenge that Lisa and Randy Walker know far too well.
Randy Walker was diagnosed with ALS in January, 2014, less than eight months before the famous Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a devastating shock for Randy and his wife Lisa. They couldn’t exactly plan for each month and year because ALS can be so unpredictable.
Randy feels that perhaps his penchant for goal-setting can be owed to his unique lifestyle and interests. From his service as a Marine in the early 1980s to his years of strategic finesse in playing fantasy baseball, Randy has mastered his goals one way or another.
Today though, Randy’s goals have less to do with baseball and more to do with family. When he was diagnosed with ALS, Randy set two decisive goals: to meet his first grandchild and watch his son graduate from college. With the help of his loving wife Lisa, who is also his caregiver, he has surpassed these aims and is now setting new ones.
Of course, Lisa and Randy’s biggest goal is to defeat ALS. From the moment they first attended The ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence at PennState Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the couple has been motivated to do whatever they can to free the world of ALS.
In 2014, they established “Rubens Raiders,” a top-grossing team that since that year participates annually in the Hershey Walk to Defeat ALS. It was also in 2014 that Randy and Lisa attended their first ALS day at Longwood Gardens. Randy fondly remembers the outing as the one in which he made his first friend who was also living with ALS. With his smile and positivity, it would not take long for Randy to make many more friends.
The couple's impact on the ALS community doesn’t end there. Lisa also attends Caregivers Day each October, learning from other caregivers and sharing her own experiences to help others. The two also attend Chapter special events—such as the Annual Dinner—that raise money for ALS research and care. And thanks to the state advocacy in which Lisa and Randy have participated over the past four years, funding for ALS care in PA has risen dramatically.
Whenever they have the opportunity, Lisa and Randy talk about how grateful they are for everyone who helps them with their care. For example, when Dr. Simmons of The ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence at PennState Hershey offered them a chance to consult the Hershey ALS care team via telemedicine, they affably declined because both cherish the in-person connection they have with all of their clinicians at Hershey.
The Chapter is so grateful to Lisa and Randy Walker, not just for all that they’ve already accomplished, but for the goals that they continue to help us set and meet together.