‘Waller & Wax Gives Back’ Campaign: 365 Days of Partnership with a Charity

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Team Gleason – Empowering people with ALS to live purposeful lives

Written by: Ellie Sommers, Operations Associate

As part of our annual Waller & Wax Gives Back campaign, our team has selected Team Gleason as our charity for 2022. Team Gleason’s mission is to improve life for people with ALS by delivering innovative technology and equipment to provide an empowering and improved life experience. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease that directly impacts my family. On February 11, 2021, my father and hero, Rich, was diagnosed with this devastating disease. It wasn’t long after that call we found out he has bulbar onset ALS. Bulbar onset ALS means his life expectancy is even shorter, and the disease will progress much faster than another type of ALS called limb onset. Because bulbar onset ALS destroys the motor neurons in the face, head, and neck, patients show early symptoms affecting speech, breathing, and swallowing. Eventually, losing the ability to eat, drink, speak, move and breathe.

Our family quickly learned just how cruel of a disease ALS truly is. Within two short months, my dad’s ability to speak started deteriorating, and the devastating reality set in that I will never get the chance to talk to him or hear his voice again. While there are many programs to fundraise for ALS research, the programs to aid those living with ALS are minimal.

Luckily, that is when we came across Team Gleason, whose mission is to improve life for people living with ALS by delivering innovative technology and equipment to provide an empowering and improved life experience. My family reached out to Team Gleason when we realized how quickly my dad was losing the ability to speak. Amazingly enough, they gave my dad the ability to communicate and us the chance to hear his voice again.

Team Gleason was able to do this by setting him up with voice banking technology, where my dad recorded over 350 phrases while he was still slightly able to speak. In addition, they were able to create a synthetic voice representing his own from the banked messages. They provided him with the training, device, and tools.

I will never forget how it felt to hear my dad’s voice after going months without it, and the moment he typed out, “I started crying hearing my voice for the first time.” Team Gleason provided him with a gift that most of us take for granted – being able to communicate.

Team Gleason has been nothing short of compassionate and helpful during these difficult times. They genuinely care about providing those living with such a devastating disease the resources and opportunities to not only continue living but continue living purposeful and meaningful lives.

I am incredibly honored to share that Waller & Wax is committed to raising awareness for Team Gleason and those who have ALS, like my dad Rich, as this year’s ‘Waller & Wax Gives Back’ campaign. We hope you will follow along and join us on our journey to raise as much as we can for this amazing organization that has directly impacted my family.

There’s more to come on how you can help us achieve this goal. In the meantime, to learn more about Team Gleason, click here.