High-five for Heiman-Patterson

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A personal fundraiser by

Francie Fitzgerald
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A five-day fundraiser for the ALS Hope Foundation and Vanderbilt's Autonomic Dysfunction Center


raised by 120 people

$10,000 goal

I met Dr. Heiman-Patterson during the spring of my freshman year at the University of Notre Dame. After a tumultuous year with my health (or really, lack-there-of) I was less than thrilled to expend the extra time, energy, and effort necessary to fly home for an appointment with a new neurologist. However, I will be forever grateful that I did. Dr. H-P is one of those really rare medical professionals that simultaneously  exudes a no-nonsense attitude and possesses one of the most compassionate hearts I've ever encountered. She goes above and beyond to try to help her patients, extending her role far beyond her clinical duties. She starts her day by rounding the hospital floor around 4 o'clock AM, but she doesn't take her early start as a reason to leave work early. She carries each and every one of her patients on her mind and in her heart everywhere she goes. She brings us home after a long day in the office, attending to our needs, medical or otherwise. She doesn't practice at a glamorous hospital, but from all I have witnessed, she treats the chronically ill with nothing but grace. She deserves to be respected and applauded for her courageous work, fighting for her patients' lives and livelihood. She has rightfully earned the title "hero" in my book. 

I thank  her from the bottom of my heart for her unrelenting efforts to improve my condition. For five days over my fall break, I will be at Hahnemann/Drexel University Hospital under IV Ketamine sedation. We are hopeful that this treatment will alleviate my chronic pain, indefinitely. The Ketamine sedation is performed in hopes of giving the nervous system, specifically the NMDA receptors, a chance to "reset."

During the five days that I am sedated, I am hosting this online fundraiser for the charity founded by my doctor. Dr. H-P founded the ALS Hope Foundation in 1999. The Foundation provides funding for the MDA/Center of Hope, the first multidisciplinary ALS clinic in the country at Drexel University College of Medicine.

The mission of the ALS Hope Foundation is to provide long-term support to:

  1. basic and clinical research programs leading to a cure, 
  2. clinical centers of excellence for the care and treatment of people with ALS,
  3. support programs for people with ALS and their caregivers that optimize care and promote independence, and
  4. programs that promote education for people with ALS and physicians about diagnosis, treatment, and care.

The ALS Hope Foundation is working to:

  • Establish a team of talented and imaginative scientists who will work cooperatively to accelerate ALS research.
  • Provide these researchers with stable funding to ensure that ALS research continues uninterrupted.
  • Provide funding for innovative, groundbreaking research across the country where traditional funding sources are not forthcoming.

Please help me, help Dr. H-P, help her ALS patients!

BONUS: An anonymous donor has agreed to match whatever we raise over the five days and grant that same amount of money to research for POTS  (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), the condition I was first diagnosed with at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2010. This additional donation will make it possible for our efforts to not only support Dr. H-P and her efforts on behalf of ALS sufferers, but also individuals affected by the conditions studied by Vanderbilt University's Autonomic Dysfunction Center. 

Please spread the word so that this campaign can grow as much as possible over the five days it will be running. I look forward to being woken up on Friday, October 21st and retracing the steps of this fundraiser, so please use hashtags #highfiveforHP and #patients4patients while sharing our page on FaceBook or Twitter. 


A personal fundraiser by

Francie Fitzgerald

Francie Fitzgerald

Giving Activity


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