Paul Cellucci’s death is painful not just because it marks the end of a life that was celebrated and cherished by so many, but also because it marks another end of the life of a friend with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), the disease I likewise live (and struggle with) on a daily basis. Incurable and essentially untreatable, ALS is a seemingly hopeless condition that impacts millions of patients and their families every year.
As a nonprofit focused on fostering breakthroughs in ALS treatments, my organization had the good fortune to work with Paul Cellucci throughout the past several years, including his participation and support for our events and work. As with his political career, which was defined by fairness and non-partisanship, Paul Cellucci rallied behind both the UMass Champions Fund for ALS and other ALS organizations like ours. It wasn’t about an alliance with one group over another — it was about doing what was right for the people who stand to benefit from the hard work that ALS organizations do each day.