More than just a fun fundraiser, it’s our opportunity to be awesome–together.

Meet Geno and Shannon

At Kids Connection, an afterschool program run by United Way partner agency, Perspectives Inc., 8-year-old Geno makes great strides in his reading skills. He and his mom, Shannon, have been involved with Perspectives Inc. for nearly six years. The supportive environment and quality programming has helped strengthen Geno’s academic skills, as well as his relationship with his mom.
“Being involved has definitely made our relationship stronger because he knows that mom is going to be checking in on him,” Shannon said.

For Shannon, the last six years have been a journey. “I came from living in and out of my car, Geno was with grandma most of the time,” Shannon said. In achieving a life of sobriety, Shannon has forged a new path. Today, thanks to the support they’ve received from Perspectives Inc. both Geno and Shannon are thriving. Geno is able to channel his energy into activities he loves—reading, art, and music. And Shannon is able to nurture him along the way.

Meet Jan and Larry

In May 2013, my farther-in-law Larry was diagnosed with Collecting Duct Carcinoma – a rare, but aggressive form of kidney cancer. In July, he had surgery to remove one of his kidneys and in August began chemotherapy.

During this time my in-laws were providing continuous updates to family and friends, all while trying to take care of themselves. By my involvement in the Together For Good campaign, I knew that Community Health Charities supported websites like Caring Bridge. By recommend this free website my father-in-law is able to share his journey and receive support.

Jan Cotterman, Capella University, Sr. Facilities Specialist.


Meet Mark and Barbara Meyer

My name is Mark. My wife, Barbara, and I have been married for 52 years! Barbara has taken care of me ever since I was diagnosed with ALS 19 years ago. My good fortune is that the disease is progressing slowly. However, I find that my routine daily activities do require help.
Barbara is a retired senior high English teacher. She raised our three daughters who help out a great deal, in spite of geography. They say life is not fair to a person with ALS but it is certainly not fair to the caregiver either. Friends offer to take Barbara out for relief but no one can take her place and sometimes she just needs a break.

We were pleased when we heard about the Jack Norton Family Respite Program. Qualified, trained in-home workers assist for 18 hours per month paid for by The ALS Association. The aides provide bathing assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping -just about anything the family caregiver usually does. We have found them cheerful, willing and able to make life better.
The respite program gives Barbara much needed time off. Just the expectation of ‘vacation’ time is uplifting for her spirits. The staff at The ALS Association have always been helpful to us with this program, and many other services as well.
The struggle goes on to find a cure for the disease. In the meantime, making life more enjoyable for people living with this disease and their families is a marvelous goal. Each time that friendly face comes to the house we think of the Jack Norton Family Respite Program, and are truly grateful.

This program would not be possible without the generosity of donors through Community Health Charities.


Meet Al Tsai

On Sept. 24, 2008, Al Tsai, epidemiologist for the Minnesota State Health Department’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit had just left a noon meeting at the American Heart Association. As he walked toward the Health Department’s St. Paul office he collapsed. He flat-lined.

Teachers from the nearby Urban Academy Charter School rushed to Al’s aid, initiated CPR and called 9-1-1. Al was rushed to Region’s Hospital where it was discovered that he had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His wife, Dr. Michaela Tsai, got the call that her 37-year-old husband and father to two young children (Marshall 2 and Mia 3 ½) was in a coma, had been found unresponsive and they didn’t know how much damage had been done to his brain while he was down.

The latest protocols and technology where initiated including a hypothermia treatment to help Al heal slowly and mitigate neurological damage. Day by day Al recovered. A week later he went home. Today he has made a full recovery. He and his wife credit the teachers’ quick and courageous actions in saving his life. They kept the blood and oxygen pumping through his body and called 9-1-1 allowing the system to complete its mission successfully.

As a member of the Health Department’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit, Al knows there are many other similar stories that don’t have happy endings. He never thought he would be touched so personally by the work he does each day, but he is now more motivated than ever to make sure everyone has the chance to be a link in the chain of survival.