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Non-profits working together to support children and young adults with loved ones facing ALS

HLC-Logo_web.jpgChildren and young adults, who had or have loved ones battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), are heading to a free weekend retreat at Camp HLC from November 10 through November 12, 2017. This is the first time HLC camp has come to West Coast and the program will be held at Camp Campbell YMCA in Boulder Creek, California.   

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis. As the disease progresses, people with ALS lose the ability to walk, move, speak, swallow and, eventually, to breathe– all while the mind and senses continue to function. Veterans are at twice the risk as those who have not served in the military. Currently, there is no known cure for ALS.

Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, Founder of Hope Loves Company, started the nonprofit in 2012 in memory of her late husband Kevin O’Donnell who battled ALS for six years. Mrs. O’Donnell-Ames has three children- now all young adults - who have lost a parent to ALS before turning 12, so she knew from personal experience how ALS affects a family, especially children.

Camp HLC offers fun experiences- including hikes, games, zip line and rock climbing as well as support sessions and stress relief tips.  See Camp HLC on the Today Show: This inaugural California camp program is supported by The ALS Association Golden West Chapter and MT Pharma America.

“Kids whose loved ones have been diagnosed with ALS face unique and extraordinary challenges,” said Fred Fisher, President and CEO, of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. “All of us at the Golden West Chapter are extremely grateful to Hope Loves Company for their compassionate efforts in support of these children. We are proud to partner with Camp HLC in order to address an underserved group within the ALS community and to enhance support for the families we serve.”

Special activities and guest speakers will include staff of the Golden West Chapter and key supporters author/poet Ryan Farnsworth, who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29, and champion windsurfer Jesper Vesterstroem, who lost his father to ALS and is also a member of the HLC board.

"Hope Loves Company is grateful for the warm welcome of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter and its team,” said Jodi O’Donnell-Ames.  “Together, we look forward to growing this program and opportunity for more campers and their families next year!"

For more information about Hope Loves Company, please visit For more information about ALS and The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, please visit

Hope Loves Company is a 501 (c) 3 non- profit dedicated to providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have family members battling ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is the only non-profit in the U.S. with this specific mission.


Our mission is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. Our vision is to create a world without ALS. The Golden West Chapter serves people with ALS and their families in 31 counties throughout California and in the state of Hawaii.   For more information about The ALS Association Golden West Chapter, please visit us at or email us at