September Volunteers of the Month
Linda and Tom Trella

“To the best mom in the whole world. And my best friend. We had a very special bond. You are at peace. No more suffering. You are in my heart forever. I love you so much. And, thank you for providing the best upbringing with so much love and kindness for your family and friends. I will miss you always. I love you, Mom.” 

Ruth Lichtenwalner was diagnosed in December 2002 at the age of 71 and passed away just two years later. Shortly after her passing, Ruth’s daughter, Linda Trella, wrote this beautiful tribute in her honor.

As Linda cared for her beloved mother, she knew Ruth, always a strong woman with an iron work ethic, struggled with the reality of needing a caregiver. Linda fondly recalls how the Chapter helped her, Ruth, and the rest of the family cope with the rigors of ALS.

“Chapter nurse Gail Houseman and other Chapter staff members were so caring. Gail even saw my mom at her home in Schnecksville, PA. The Lehigh Valley support group, led by Chapter social worker and Walk leader Wendy Barnes, was always there for us. Mom received a LightWriter to communicate, a neck brace, and visited the Chapter’s multidisciplinary clinics.”

Linda’s enduring love for her mother inspires her to continue raising awareness and funds to fight ALS. Additionally, Linda’s husband Tom and daughter Holly heartily join her in this effort.

“I am so glad that we are giving back to the organization that did so much for us during the course of mom’s illness.”

And give back they do!

“Holly, who has served as a Chapter Board Member, started the Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS in 2003 with only 300 walkers. Ruthie’s Team cut the ribbon! Today, the Walk has grown to five times that number,” says Linda.

And, on Saturday, October 6, when you bite into a bagel at the Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS (and we certainly hope you join us!) we owe a big thanks to the Trellas, who year after year:
• procure all of the donated food for the Walk – NO easy task!
• transport the food in their truck to Lehigh Valley IronPigs Coco-Cola Park
• create a wonderful smorgasbord for walkers to enjoy
• clean up and takes leftovers to others in need

And get ready to do it all over again for the 2019 Walk!

Giving back is indeed part and parcel for this amazing, big-hearted family. “My husband and I have volunteered at the Phillies Phestival and are also Chapter Community Ambassadors, promoting the Chapter’s work at local events. Tom and I are so proud to be a part of the Chapter and especially the Walk. We are here for the long-haul—until a cure is found.”

Join us at the Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS on October 6 at Lehigh Valley IronPigs Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA. Register here - and be sure to say hello to the Trellas as you pick up a piece of fruit, a bagel or a TastyKake. They make it happen!


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.