Living With ALS: Meet CareOne Resident Karl

Posted on: September 25, 2014

Under the leadership of CEO Daniel E. Straus and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Straus, CareOne was proud to be one of the contributors, not only to the ALSA’s fundraising efforts, but also to the real reason behind this initiative – improving the lives of those living with ALS and their families. After being nominated for the challenge by Oradell Health Care Center, top executives and employees at CareOne’s Fort Lee, NJ headquarters took on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge, raised $15,000 for the ALSA, and nominated ASCEND Rehab to take the challenge next. “Philanthropy is a vital component of the CareOne culture,” said Daniel E. Straus. “We value giving back to the community and supporting charitable causes. We are proud to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge and raise awareness and funds for those affected by ALS, including our own patients.”

ASCEND Rehab therapists at CareOne’s Woodcrest Health Care Center in New Milford, NJ were thrilled to participate in honor of one of their residents, Karl, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. While the disease is debilitating, Karl, a resident at Woodcrest since 2009, enjoys a high quality of life thanks to CareOne’s programs and services and his ASCEND Rehab speech therapist, Sima Raphan Gross, who introduced Karl to the world of technology.

Ms. Raphan Gross worked with Karl and his family to obtain a DynaVox communication device, which allows Karl to communicate despite the fact that he cannot speak. With the simple press of a touch screen button, the device speaks for Karl and enables him to communicate his thoughts. Karl also uses the device to interact with his grandchildren on Facebook and communicate with his family and friends via phone and e-mail. “This machine changed my life for the better. Now I can talk to my family and my grandkids. It has the Internet, games, music and I can control my TV from it. It also has email, an MP3 player and a phone so I can talk to my family.” Karl communicated via his DynaVox.

“I have known Karl since I started working at Woodcrest 5 years ago,” said Ms. Raphan Gross. “What always strikes me most about him is his upbeat attitude and joy of life, despite going through a very difficult degenerative illness. Karl has managed to enjoy his life, especially since we got the DynaVox for him three years ago. He uses it daily to communicate with staff and to participate in all the wonderful activities offered at our center.”

Karl enjoyed watching his ASCEND Rehab therapists do the ALS #IceBucketChallenge to raise awareness about the disease in his honor. “The #IceBucketChallenge brings awareness to ALS and has raised millions of dollars to find a cure,” Karl communicated. “I want to thank the Woodcrest rehab department again for doing the challenge.” According to the Woodcrest team, Karl is always smiling and happy. As an active resident he enjoys participating in daily activities, especially poker where he is usually the big winner. “I take every day as it comes,” Karl communicated. “I have a great outlook on life – I don’t let anything get me down.”

“Those living with ALS, like Karl, are the real reason behind the #IceBucketChallenge,” said Elizabeth Straus. “At CareOne, it’s our job to provide the highest level of care for our patients. When we have the opportunity to fundraise for an organization that supports a disease affecting our patients, it’s even more meaningful.”

Daniel E. Straus and Elizabeth Straus recently presented a check for $15,000 to President and CEO of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter Dorine Gordon. “We are grateful to CareOne for supporting our mission to create a world without ALS,” said Ms. Gordon. “These funds will help provide vital programs and services for those living with ALS and their families in the Greater New York City and New Jersey regions in addition to sponsoring research efforts to find a cure.”