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An important announcement about former Board Member, Rusty Selix

August 29, 2019

It is with a heavy heart that we share the very sad news that Rusty Selix died on Tuesday, August 27 after a three year battle with ALS.

Rusty, a former Chapter Board Member and the inaugural recipient of the “Dean and Kathleen Rasmussen Advocate of the Year” Essey Award, was a professional advocate in California for over 30 years, who worked tirelessly on important issues on behalf of people in the mental health community. One of Rusty’s most significant career triumphs was as the leader and original co-author, along with Mayor of Sacramento Darrell Steinberg on the Proposition 63 ballot measure, which was passed into law in 2004, and generates nearly $2 billion annually for California’s public mental health systems.

After his diagnosis with ALS in 2017, Rusty began receiving multidisciplinary clinical care at ALS Association Certified Centers of Excellence. When he learned that this multidisciplinary model of care was funded by philanthropic efforts of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, and not by insurance or the State, he immediately contacted us to express his personal thanks. He then chose to apply his deep expertise on behalf of the ALS community to help improve care services for people with ALS in California.

In April 2018, Rusty gave compelling testimony in Sacramento requesting funding for this wraparound model of care, which combines medical, community and home-based services and support, and is proven to help people with ALS live better and longer with the disease and accelerate the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS. Two months later, Governor Brown signed budget bill SB 840, declaring it a “milestone” and provided important recognition of the diverse and ongoing needs of people living with ALS and their families and an unprecedented commitment of state funding to support care for those facing this devastating disease. Rusty was also passionate about the outdoors, the music of the Grateful Dead, and his beloved family. You can learn more about Rusty through our Spotlight article, which includes several important videos.

Our thoughts are with his wife Nancy, his three amazing children, and his many loved ones and friends at this time. We are forever grateful to Rusty for his insights, leadership, and for leveraging his influence in the public policy arena as a powerful spokesperson for our mission and vision. He will be truly missed by so many.

Donations in his honor are welcome to "Team Rusty" for the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS.