September 2017 Volunteer of the Month
Betty Polisi


The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter has always focused on improving the lives of families. That mission is important for everyone affected by ALS, but it also goes to the loved ones of board members, sponsors, and Chapter staff.  Family members of the staff at the Chapter have helped with the Walk to Defeat ALS, the Annual Luncheon, and other events. One of these volunteers, Betty Polisi, has spent so much time helping the Chapter that she is now considered a family member to everyone.

Betty came to the Chapter through her sister Donna Polisi Cleary, the Chapter’s Director of Annual Giving. While Betty and Donna’s mother was living with cancer, Betty was a constant source of warmth and help, doing chores for her mom and doing what she could to make life as easy as possible. Betty lived with her mom and loved to help.

In 2013, Betty’s mom passed away from cancer. Even though she’d battled the disease for four years, it was a terrible loss for the family and nobody can truly prepare for that moment. After her mother’s passing, Betty moved in with Donna. Life was different, but Betty’s positive outlook on life remained the same, providing brightness even in the darkest moments.

Since she did not need to help at home anymore, Betty wanted to find more ways to be productive. She belonged to a workshop in Philadelphia, which was part of a program for people with special needs. There she did basic jobs and made friends, but she always wanted to do more.

Donna asked if there was work to do in the office at The ALS Association. Every department had tasks that needed to be completed. So Betty Polisi jumped at the chance to be a volunteer.

From the start, Betty found that there was a lot to do in the office. She put together the Chapter information packets that people receive if they are newly diagnosed with ALS.  If you received one of these packets in the last four years, there is a good chance that Betty put the materials in your folder.

Everyone was glad to have Betty in the office. Instead of being someone who came in occasionally, she became a part of the Chapter family. When people see her in the break room putting labels on envelopes, it is like when people see Norm walk in on the set of Cheers.

Betty never turns down a request from anyone at the office. She has assisted with fundraising mailings and even cleaned signs before Walk to Defeat ALS events. Betty also organizes letterboards to help people with ALS communicate as the disease takes their voice.

The Chapter staff would love to have Betty in the office more frequently, but, in 2014, she moved to Connecticut to live with her other sister Jean. Both Donna and Jean love to spend time with Betty and the families get together as often as they can. Betty comes to Philadelphia to be with Donna every few weeks and when she does, she usually comes into the office to volunteer.

Whether in Connecticut or Pennsylvania, Betty has always enjoyed volunteering to help others. When she visits her friends, Louise and Helen, she has helped them to stuff envelopes for a local community center. Sometimes the best thing she can do is just make everyone’s life a bit brighter, if even for a day.

Betty lived with her mom for her entire life and was always a help around the house. When cancer took away her mom, she did not let it take away her goodness or happiness. Now she is sharing that with everyone, including all of us at The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter. For the last four years, she has been a part of the Chapter family and now she is our Volunteer of the Month.

Thank you Betty for sharing your time with us and thank you to Donna and Jean for sharing your sister with all of us too.


The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter
321 Norristown Road - Suite 260, Ambler, PA 19002

The ALS Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.