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S&A’s Eric Skidmore Receives 2005 Vision Award from ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter

           On December 15, 2005, S&A’s Eric Skidmore attended the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter.  Other Chapter volunteers were in attendance.  Eric was presented with the 2005 Vision Award which recognizes individuals who, through their own initiative, keep the ALS challenge visible in the public arena and support the Chapter’s ability to fulfill their mission of ALS awareness.  Eric was recognized for his volunteer work as a Lou Gehrig look-a-like at the ALS Kid’s Camp on April 30, 2005, the Strike-Out ALS at Akron Canal Park on August 21, 2005 and his appearance at two regional efforts to Walk to D’Feet ALS® in September-October 2005.  “I was immensely flattered to be a recipient of an award, however, recognition has never been the aim of any of my efforts,” said Skidmore.  “My enthusiasm has always been fed by the other volunteers, the afflicted and their families.  I have been the one who has been educated and enriched,” Skidmore added. 


Two other recipients of the 2005 Vision Award were “the Solon Y5K Team” and “Dr. Ray Onders & Team”.  The Solon Y5K Team is a group of families and friends of David Yates, a popular teacher at Solon High School who passed away on October 6, 2000 from complications associated with ALS.  On June 6th of every year, a 5K run/walk is held to celebrate his life and raise money to assist local individuals with ALS. 

Dr. Ray Onders is the director of minimally invasive surgery at the University Hospital’s Health System.  Dr. Onders has become a leader in the area of implanting tiny electrodes into the lining of the human diaphragm in order to wean spinal cord injury patients from being ventilator-dependent.  This has been a substantial contribution to the care and comfort of ALS patients. 


The following is a summary of remarks made by Eric E. Skidmore at the 2005 annual meeting of the Board of Directors:

“I tried to depict a ball player who said that he was lucky.  I can say I am pretty lucky, too.  First and foremost, I never had, nor do I personally know, anyone who has suffered from or died of ALS.  I learned of the disease filling in as a Lou Gehrig look-a-like at an Aeros ball game and by the third inning, I learned that science doesn’t know how it is caused and that there is no cure.”


“I always associated the disease with an old ball player that would surely have a cure in light of modern medicine.”

“So, I am the lucky one to be able, at my age, to address my own ignorance to a wretched disease.  I am lucky because at my age I have already outlived the ball player that I try to portray.  I am lucky because I get to put on a throwback Yankees’ uniform and mimic a Hall of Famer.  Who wouldn’t want to do the things that I do?  I get to see and take souvenir pictures with all the smiling faces of the families and the afflicted.  I get to clown around with the Aeros’ mascot, Orbit, and the Cleveland Indians’ mascot, Slider.  I get to take pictures with teams of cheerleaders upon request.  So, no question, I am the lucky one.”


“However, I know at all these events, that the afflicted and their families return to their homes and that is when the pain, discomfort and struggles are experienced.  The families, afflicted and health care providers are the ones that take on that battle.  So, while at these events, if I can make them smile and help them to escape their predicament for just one second, I will do that every time.  So, in closing, ALS is a wretched disease, however, it does have a formidable foe and it is this Chapter and its volunteers and I look forward to assisting them in the future.”