Friendship Grown from Service

ALS Families

In 2018, when Live Like Lou launched our ALS family service program, now called Connect and Serve, the Collins family from Madison, Georgia, was among the first families to be served by our friends from Phi Delta Theta. The Phis at the University of Georgia were led by their advisor, Matthew Smith, who helped make this connection with the family that now spans more than five years.

Preston Collins was 41 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. Preston, his wife Lara, and their daughter, Alana, were determined to check off as many items on Preston’s bucket list as possible. Traveling when they could, spending time with friends and family, becoming a part of the ALS community in their area, and honoring one of Preston’s favorite things—Christmas lights. At the time, Alana was 10, and her first request of the chapter was to decorate their house for the holidays. The chapter eagerly completed the task, and the rest was history!

University of Georgia Phi Delts decorate the Collins' family home for the holidays in 2020.

Fast forward to today, the Georgia Phi Delts and the Collins family have cultivated a genuine friendship. Even after Preston passed away in 2019, the chapter decorates the house during the Christmas season (just like Preston would want); they’ve built a trampoline, frequently stop by to hang out and play sports with Alana, and now play an annual kickball game! With their biggest turnout yet earlier this month, 25 Phi Delts joined Lara, Alana, her friends, and her dog Phineus to spend the day together.

2023 kickball game with Phi Delts at the University of Georgia and the Collins family.
Lara says it best, “We have had so much fun playing kickball over the years with these guys and spreading ALS awareness in the community. These guys have brought so much joy to our lives. They are totally amazing!”

Our Connect and Serve program has hundreds of volunteers registered to serve ALS families in their communities nationwide. Over the years, we have been honored to watch families and volunteers forge lifelong friendships that have changed the lives of both volunteers and the families they serve.

Do you need one-time or short-term help in and around the home due to an ALS diagnosis? Click here to register. And, if you are a volunteer looking to serve a family, click here. You never know; this interaction might change your life!

“The guys were awesome—they lifted our spirits and took our minds off ALS. They have done so much, including bringing fun to our home. We thank them so much for being there for us,” shared Lara.
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