News & Stories

My ALS Story – The Sy Ohana

IG Square Template
Sy Family Photo for New Years in 2016

In 2020, Elizabeth Sy was diagnosed with ALS. After learning more about the disease, the Sy family connected with ALS Golden West for services and support. 

The Sy family also got involved in the ALS community and participated in the 2022 Hawaii Walk to Defeat ALS. Elizabeth’s family and team, Team HECS4EVR, has worked to raise ALS awareness on the Big Island, where they reside, as many doctors and nurses are unfamiliar with the disease. 

However, because of the challenges of the ALS, Elizabeth was never able to fly to Honolulu for the Walk.

“I didn’t know what ALS was before I was diagnosed. At first, it was like the whole world dropped out for me and my family. I used to be able to sing with my choir, before I lost my voice to the disease. 

I have always participated in various community service activities, and I am always happiest when I give back to others. I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren.”

Elizabeth Corpuz Sy, living with ALS since 2020

“Our mother is loving, caring, and very giving. She donates a lot of her money to family in the Philippines and the community. She has sacrificed a lot for our family. 

Since forever, she used to always add “HECS4Ever,” below her signature on letters and notes, which stands for “Honestly Elizabeth Corpuz Sy Forever.” So we thought she’d like that to be our team name.  

Mama is a warrior. We are Walking to raise awareness and support, so no one else has to face this disease.”

Maria Sy-Rondaris,
Team Captain,

Determined to have their mom join them for the event in-person this year, the Sy family reached out to ALS Golden West to coordinate their own Walk to Defeat ALS in their hometown of Hilo.

As a result, the Sy family organized the inaugural Big Island Walk to Defeat ALS this year to continue to spread awareness in their local community. Events like the Walk to Defeat ALS help drive the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS and raise support for those affected by the disease. 

Golden West Staff Mac Hoover Negre, AnnMarie Ingham, and Rex Like

“It was wonderful seeing Big Island come together to support the local ALS community,” said AnnMarie Ingham, Assistant Director, Community Outreach in Hawaii. “We are so thankful to everyone who came out, walked, and volunteered.”

”Gratitude flows from the depths of our hearts and we extend our sincerest thanks to this incredible community for uniting and supporting the Big Island Walk. Together, we have shown that in the face of diversity, unity prevails and love conquers all,” shared Rex Like, Golden West Care Manager.

The inaugural Big Island Walk to Defeat ALS was held on Sunday, September 3, 2023, at Liliuokalani Park. The event brought incredible energy and an outpouring of support for those affected by ALS in Hawaii. 

“A wonderful time in support of our ALS family on Big Island drove us to unselfish devotion to such an important goal!” shared Mc Hoover (Mac) Negre, Golden West Equipment Program Assistant. “The compassion speaks volumes about who we are as an ALS community, and I can’t thank everyone enough for the love that had an amazing outcome!”

It was a fun-filled day that began with warmups led by Big Island Zumba, an opening ceremony with Mayor Mitch Roth, and live music by Meili Aspen. You can see more photos from the event here.

Sadly, Elizabeth’s daily challenges with ALS would not allow her to attend the Big Island Walk, but thanks to the Sy Family and the Hilo community, the Big Island Walk raised over $5,000 in support of Golden West’s mission and the ALS community.

We are also grateful to the entire Sy family for sharing your story with Golden West and the ALS community! We invite you to share your ALS story as well. In doing so, you are making a difference as we work together to ensure access to essential care services and to drive the search for effective treatments and cures.

You can also inspire people to get involved in raising ALS awareness and support by joining Golden West’s Walk to Defeat ALS events.

Share This Article: