If there are divine guardians here on earth, the MAC Angels are as close as one will get.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
If there are divine guardians here on earth, the MAC Angels are as close as one will get. These selfless volunteers are devoted to supporting families with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. They understand the implications of the incurable motor neuron disease and they work tirelessly to ease the emotional, physical, and financial burdens faced by patients and their families.
The MAC Angels Foundation’s board and services president Chris Curtin spoke on behalf of all the volunteers when he said, “We feel blessed to be able to work with these families. We get so much back. They make us better people because we learn what’s important in life. The trials and tribulations in our own lives pale by comparison. They’re the real warriors.”
In order to lighten their load, the MAC Angels penetrate just about every part of their patients’ lives. If they have a doctor’s visit or need to have tests done at a hospital, the angels will not only provide transportation, they’ll also spend hours navigating the medical system and providing moral support. It is not uncommon for the Angels to become proficient in the use of suction machines or ventilators. At times, they have to learn to communicate with a patient who can no longer speak. The organization also provides families with wheel chairs, hospital beds, or ramps for their homes, as well as with palliative care referrals.
In addition to enhancing quality of life, the foundation was created as a way of honoring longtime philanthropist Mary Ann Collier and her daughter-in-law Claire Collier, who was afflicted with ALS. Before Claire lost her courageous battle in 2009, she had inspired family and friends to raise awareness and mobilize with the Friends of Claire Foundation. Two years ago, that organization joined forces with the Mary Ann Collier Foundation, and MAC Angels was born. Claire’s brother, Rye resident Phil Gormley, has played a major role in continuing their mission and in raising funds through Rye’s annual Jarden Westchester Triathlon.
Welcoming as much support as possible, a fundraising gala is scheduled for Saturday, November 3 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase. For more information, call Ellen DeCicco at 637-7010 Eldicicco@macangels.org.