News & Stories

Brian Epp: SWWA Community Foundation Community Champion Nominee

The Chapter nominated Brian Epp for the SWWA Community Foundation Community Champion award in 2023. The following essay was submitted on his behalf. Although Brian was not selected, he will always be our community champion.

Brian Epp is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. He has been an incredible ally, leader, volunteer and advocate for people with ALS and the fight for a cure. Everyone who meets him becomes his champion, and we are so grateful to have him in our community.  

Brian is a retired landscaper and public safety officer who grew up and continues to reside in Battle Ground, Washington. He and his wife Jennie have three children and a large community of family and friends who support them.

Brian was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. He now relies on a power wheelchair for his mobility, and ALS has impacted his ability to speak so he uses a computer and amplifier to speak for him. He needs the support of family and a personal caregiver to help with his daily activities – but none of this has stopped him from being fully engaged in his community and living a full life. He may not be able to do some of the things he enjoyed doing before his diagnosis, but Brian is remarkably adaptive, and he finds new ways to do things he enjoys.

Brian Epp is a steadfast champion and supporter for people with ALS and our mission as an organization. Over the past 10+ years, even though Brian himself struggles daily with the impacts of the disease, he has always seen beyond his personal experience and has an intense desire to help and serve others. He is an active ambassador for the chapter and meets with newly diagnosed people often, urging them to attend support group meetings and other events that the organization hosts for people with ALS. He often shares the best strategies with others on how to cope with this devasting diagnosis.  

Brian and his team at the 2023 Southwest Washington Walk to Defeat ALS

Brian has been a Southwest Washington Walk to Defeat ALS champion since his diagnosis. Each year he brings together a team of friends and family to help raise funds. He has brought hundreds of people to support the mission of the organization, to help provide services to people with ALS and to fund research for treatments and a cure.

Brian helps promote the chapter’s resources tirelessly through social media, email, personal written appeals and other personal outreach. His goal is always to just get more people involved and to encourage others to be a part of this supportive community. Over the years he has connected with so many people with ALS. He makes the effort to personalize each connection while encouraging them to get involved and live life to the fullest. Through his kindness, positive attitude, and good humor, Brian cultivates a community where everyone feels like they belong. He generously invites this community to always be a part of what he is doing. 

One example of how Brian championed the cause and worked to raise ALS awareness was his Hood to Coast relay. In his power wheelchair Brian traced the route! It helped bring attention to ALS and his experience was profiled in the local news.

Recently Brian helped lead a workshop on how to use adaptive smart-home technology to navigate your home and help perform daily tasks like turning light switches on and off when you are no longer able. No question is off the table for him, he is a thoughtful leader, and shares his priceless knowledge about how to cope with ALS with his peers, their caregivers and families. We are so thankful for his advocacy and support every day.

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