Nonprofit supports children and young adults who have family members affected by ALS
March 16, 2023 – Hope Loves Company (HLC) is celebrating its 10th year as a nonprofit, serving children, teens, young adults, and their families who are affected by ALS all across the country. HLC’s founder Jodi O’Donnell Ames and her current husband Benton, who also lost his wife to ALS, are riding their bikes, along with family, friends, and volunteers, from New Hope, PA to Love, VA at the end of May, to also commemorate ALS Awareness month. The nearly 400 mile ride will raise funds for HLC programs and services, and is expected to take 9 days, with a tentative start date of Wednesday, May 24th at 9 AM EST from the Delaware Canal at New Hope, PA on E. Bridge Street. There will be several stops along the route for the media to conduct interviews, take video and pictures. The ride will end with a party at Love Ridge Mountain Lodging on June 2nd at 4 PM EST.
“We’re biking to celebrate 10 years of Hope Loves Company. I ride for those who can’t. To do something hard, which is what our families do every day, I am committed to spreading awareness, raise money, and to celebrate this milestone,” says Jodi.
ALS is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. People eventually lose the ability to speak, eat, move, and breathe. Most individuals who receive news of ALS live two to five years after the onset of symptoms.
Jodi learned about ALS in 1995 when her then husband Kevin O’Donnell, at the age of 30, received the diagnosis. Kevin lost his battle with ALS at the age of 36 in 2001. He was vented, paralyzed, speechless and dependent on a feeding tube. Their daughter, Alina was 8 when Kevin passed and Jodi, a former school teacher, searched for grief programs for her child to no avail.
As a result, she founded Hope Loves Company, the only nonprofit in the U.S. that provides both educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battling ALS in their lives. HLC provides numerous free programs to children and their families around the nation.
One of HLC’s campers last year expressed, “Until this camp, I had never met another kid affected by ALS. When I was down, I got multiple hugs and kind words. HLC gathered a group of strangers who are all experiencing the pain of ALS. We were brought together like a family and shown that we aren't alone. It became a safe place for me as well as for everyone.”
To learn more about HLC, visit www.hopelovescompany.org or call 609-730-1144.