The ALS Association

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

One Woman’s Quest to Find a Cure

By: Daniel Gonzales
Jean White

The pain of losing a loved one to ALS is unbearable enough. Imagine the heartache of losing two family members to this devastating disease. This was the scenario Jean White had to face when her mother passed away from ALS in 1973 and then her older sister later that same decade.

Jean had a great relationship with her mother, Marie, who was the rock of the family. Her father passed away in 1956, so Marie had to take on the added responsibility of raising and providing for Jean. One of Jean’s fondest memories of Marie was when she helped her mother create a quilt for a local contest. They received a blue ribbon for that quilt, but the precious moments she shared making the quilt with her was worth more than any ribbon in the world.

Unfortunately Jean’s sister, Elaine, was about 14 years her senior, so they were not as close as Jean would have liked. Nonetheless, Elaine was very dear to Jean and the passing of her and their mother affected Jean in a very profound way. The tragedy of losing two loved ones to Lou Gehrig’s Disease so close together would motivate anyone to take action against this killer.

Jean didn’t hear about The ALS Association until 2004 when a friend of hers, who also lost her mother to ALS, told her about the organization. “I immediately contacted The Association and discussed ways I could make a difference,” Jean recalled. After talking about different options with The ALS Association’s Director of Gift Planning, Jean decided the best way to make an impact was to include a bequest provision in her will.

Jean, who obtained degrees in psychology, biology and counseling, is needless to say, a very intelligent woman. Out of all the different planned giving options, including The Association in her will just made the most sense to her. Some of the benefits of this method of giving are that donor’s assets remain in their control during their lifetime, they can direct their bequest to a particular purpose, and that there is no upper limit on the estate tax deductions that can be taken for charitable bequests.

As Jean modestly explains, “I just want The ALS Association to find answers for other people who have lost family members to this disease.” It is because of caring and forward thinking individuals like Jean White that The ALS Association can continue to leave no stone unturned in their relentless search for a cure.


To find out how you can create a legacy of hope through a charitable gift annuity, please contact DJ Hampton, Vice President, Development  You can also learn more about gift annuities by visiting The Association's web site at  All inquiries are strictly confidential.


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