Bentson honored for ALS work
Walter Bentson was a top amateur baseball umpire who is involved in leading Boston's renowned Park League, the oldest amateur baseball league in the United States. That is until he met up with Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Bentson was honored for his contributions to baseball - and for being a tireless advocate and fund-raiser for ALS research - before Sunday's Red Sox-Tampa Bay game at Fenway Park.
The ceremony was part of the second annual event for ALS patients and family members - in box seats donated by Red Sox. These patients come together at BIDMC once each month for a program called Clinic Connections.
Bentson was the inspiration for Clinic Connections, feeling strongly that patients seen on monthly clinic days needed an opportunity to come together to share experiences and offer each other practical and emotional support. Last month 27 patients and family members gathered for lunch to eat food specially-prepared by BIDMC chefs that is compatible with the swallowing problems some of patients face, but is appetizing and beautifully presented.
"Most importantly these patients have truly formed a caring community," said Lissa Kapust, a program manager in the cognitive neurology unit. "The 'healing' that goes on during the lunch program is critical in light of the fact that there are no cures for ALS."
In addition to the lunch program, Kapust has also coordinated the Legacy Video project which helps patients make videos for family and loved ones. Funding for both the CC lunch program and the Legacy Videos comes from a grant by Elizabeth Lane (Andrea Battit Fisher Fund) whose daughter, Andrea Battit Fisher died of ALS in 1999.
Caption: With Wally and Red Sox Staff member Troup Parkinson looking on during pregame ceremonies April 18, Lissa Kapust presents Walter Bentson with a plaque commemorating his important work on behalf of ALS patients.