July 13, 2016

Leonard Florence Center Opens the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence

The Chelsea Record • Thursday, June 30, 2016 • Page 5
Story and photos by Kate Anslinger
Leonard Florence Center Opens the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence
The Leonard Florence Cen­ter for Living (LFCL) was filled with emotion last Thurs­day, June 16, as residents, staff and speakers joined together to celebrate the opening of the Dapper McDonald ALS Resi­dence.
The facility is named after Richard “Dapper” McDonald, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. McDonald, who nev­er let the motor neuron disease slow him down, passed away nine months after his diagno­sis. The new residence pays a tribute to the young man whose courage, spirit and zest for living left an imprint on the world.
“We are not going to stop and rest until we open more of these facilities across the country,” said Leonard Flor­ence Center CEO Barry Ber­man.
The center is the only oper­ation in the world that caters to ALS patients.
“We need more homes that care for these patients and provide a sense of security for their families,” he said.
There are people as far as Australia trying to get a room here, according to Berman. Resident Steve Saling played a large role in creating the model for the first residence, which opened in 2010.
“Leonard Florence has saved my life. Thank you Steve Saling for giving me my life back,” said Epifani, who was being taken care of by his 82 year-old parents in New York prior to moving to the living center. Before the ribbon ceremony, guests were invited to tour the rooms, which are equipped with cut­ting-edge assistive technolo­gy, allowing individuals with ALS to receive professional care in a safe and loving en­vironment.