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ALS Golden West to honor Fred Fisher with the Essey Lifetime Achievement Award


ALS Golden West will honor Fred Fisher, MSW, LCSW, President & CEO of ALS Golden West,with the Essey Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the ALS community for more than two decades at their Champions for Cures and Care gala on Friday, January 19, 2024, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. This inspirational and informative event celebrates individuals and organizations whose contributions and efforts advance the organization’s mission-critical activities.

Supporters of the ALS community are invited to enjoy an elegant and festive evening featuring cocktails and wine tasting; a silent and live auction; gourmet dinner; special guest appearances; entertainment; and the presentation of ALS Golden West’s highest honors, The Essey Awards, which include the Essey Lifetime Achievement Award. Named for one of the organization’s founding board members, San Francisco’s Richard “Dick” Essey, the prestigious Essey Awards are given annually for outstanding efforts in support of mission priorities in ALS research, care services, and advocacy.

With a deep commitment to ALS care, research, and public policy, Fred’s accomplishments on behalf of the ALS community are unparalleled and far-ranging. Fred’s vision and leadership have played a pivotal role in positioning Golden West to accelerate research and power the search for effective prevention strategies, treatments, and cures for ALS. Fred has played an integral role in the passing of many state and federal bills that significantly benefit the ALS community. His efforts have resulted in creation of one of the largest ALS patient service organizations in the country. 

Fred’s legacy of innovation and ingenuity began in 2003 when he joined ALS Golden West as president and CEO. Then known as the LA Chapter of the ALS Association, the organization had only two employees. Fred quickly recognized the urgent need for a more robust organization to serve as a centralized source of information, guidance, and resources for people living with ALS and their loved ones. 

Starting February 1, 2024, Fred will assume the role of president emeritus as part of a long-established succession plan. In this new position, he will provide consultation on a broad range of topics, offer guidance in expanding our research program, and engage supporters who make transformational gifts to advance our priorities and special initiatives.

“Fred helped shape Golden West into one of the leading ALS nonprofits in the country by increasing multidisciplinary care services, advocacy, and research efforts, while never failing to keep people living with ALS and their loved ones front and center,” Patricia Schimbor, ALS Golden West Board Chair said. “Fred’s leadership, commitment, and innovation have truly changed the way we care for individuals facing ALS by improving their quality of life and quality of care.” 

ALS Golden West thanks Fred for his unparalleled contribution to our ALS community. Learn more about Fred’s commitment to the ALS community throughout his tenure with ALS Golden West. 

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 are no known causes or cures for ALS.

ALS Golden West will also recognize award-winning actor and singer, Aaron Lazar, with the Essey Spotlight Award for his commitment to raising ALS awareness around the globe. With extraordinary passion and grace, Aaron inspires audiences with The Impossible Dream, his personal journey of healing in the face of his ALS diagnosis. Aaron will perform an excerpt of song and story from this piece for Champions for Cures and Care guests.

During the event, guests will enjoy live music by Carlos Calvo and friends. Calvo, often called Hollywood’s “Guitar Teacher to the Stars,” combines Alternative Folk/Pop with virtuoso guitar playing. The live auction will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning radio & TV personality Liam Mayclem. Mayclem is best known as the host of EYE ON THE BAY on CBS 5 and as “The Foodie Chap,” celebrating San Francisco Bay Area culinary stars daily on #1 KCBS Radio.

Proceeds from Champions for Cures and Care will provide funding for ALS Golden West’s mission priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward effective treatments and cures for ALS.  Sponsorship and ticket purchase opportunities are now available. Please contact Asher Garfinkel, Vice President of Community Outreach, at for more information.

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