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Meet our 2023 Hero Award Recipient – Pat Dolan

First photo: Pat Dolan with his wife Mara. Second photo: Pat Dolan with loved ones at Inland Empire Walk to Defeat ALS.

The ALS Association and the Golden West Chapter announce the selection of Pat Dolan as a recipient of the 2023 Hero Award!

The Hero Award, the highest honor given by The ALS Association, was established to recognize and pay tribute to people living with ALS who have made an indelible impact on the ALS community.

“Pat’s incredible technical skills, collaborative spirit, and persevering efforts have contributed significantly to the ALS community and in helping people living with ALS find the information they need,” said Sheri Strahl, Chief Operating Officer for the Golden West Chapter. “His accomplishments are extraordinary. Pat, along with his wife Mara, have made a lasting and positive impact within the ALS community. He is indeed our hero!”

Pat was independently nominated for the Hero Award by both the Golden West Chapter and ALS Association national staff – a fact that represents his impact and excellence. Pat was chosen for this honor based on his incredible journey replete with noteworthy and meaningful accomplishments in the fight against ALS. These include:

  • Powerful advocacy to affect positive promotion and passage of legislative priorities
  • Local advocacy with medical institutions to ensure better treatments and care for people with ALS in their community
  • Leadership with ALS organizations dedicated to improving ALS advocacy, care, and research outcomes
  • Significant funding and fundraising in support of the ALS community
  • Strong media coverage and outreach to create ALS awareness

After his diagnosis in 2016, Pat realized that his professional expertise with geographic information systems (GIS) could greatly benefit the ALS community. Pat chose to start close to home by establishing a strong connection with his local Golden West Chapter. He invited Chapter staff to his employer’s headquarters – that meeting at Esri in Redlands, CA was the start of an incredible journey of learning, collaboration and action in support of the ALS community. Esri mapping technology allowed the Chapter to display available resources throughout our service area on our website, providing the public with easy access to information about Certified Centers of Excellence and affiliated clinics, support groups and community events. Esri tools have also helped the Chapter  to develop quick response plans for clients in disaster zones (fires, floods, storms and more),  to inform strategic plans and program initiatives and to identify potential  geographic ALS clusters. 

This early work with the Golden West Chapter led to new projects that Pat spearheaded with the national office of the ALS Association, including the development of the ALS Clinic Locator & Survey. This tool provides the community with a powerful interactive map option to search for ALS clinics in any region in the US. The outcome of this inventive work is an undeniable hallmark of Pat’s dedication that will have a lasting, positive impact throughout the ALS community.

Employees from Esri also joined Pat and Mara, along with their family and friends in the Inland Empire Walk to Defeat ALS, raising thousands of dollars for the mission. Their team, The Mappers, complete with bagpipes and strong Esri company support led fundraising efforts for two years, and in 2018 Pat accepted the Inland Empire Walk’s Community Champion Award on behalf of Esri.

Pat and Mara were recognized during a national virtual event on Monday, May 15. Additional details about Pat’s inspiring efforts can be found on our website

Thank you to Pat and Mara for their commitment and tenacity. Together, they have championed our interdependent mission priorities related to care, research, and advocacy and have helped to improve outcomes for those living with ALS throughout the nation.

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