Patrick O’Brian lives with ALS at Leonard Florence Center for Living, a Green House Project in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His father, Mayor Kennedy O’Brian of Sayreville, NJ,was invited to the White House St. Patrick’s Day Reception, and he knew he had to find a way to bring his son. Patrick’s dad said that the team from Leonard Florence Center (LFCL) moved “heaven and earth” to get his son to the event. Patrick was able to shake the President’s hand and meet the Irish Prime Minister…It was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.
LFCL has a long history of connecting people to meaning and adventure. From trips to Cape Cod and Disney World, to sky diving, this organization believes that well-being is about a lot more than physical health.
Beyond this exciting event, Patrick O’Brian is a filmmaker. He was honored in 2015 at the Tribeca Film festival for, Transfatty Lives, a piece that he created with eye gaze technology, while living at LFCL.
We celebrate Green House homes who are pushing the envelope everyday to ensure people live full and meaningful lives, from simple pleasures like getting a cup of coffee just the right way, to traveling 12 hours with a full medical team and meeting the President. “I’m just a proud father and a grateful father,” Kennedy O’Brian said.
When the decision was first made to build Green House homes, Barry Berman, CEO, Chelsea Jewish Foundation, said we knew the model was “extremely special, extremely unique and wondered what other vulnerable populations in addition to elders we could serve. We challenged ourselves knowing that these individuals would probably be on Medicaid.” As a mission driven organization they opened their 10 Green House homes with one dedicated to individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, and one to individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis or MS. An amazing achievement.
Today, they are excited to open another home for ALS individuals, the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence, thanks to a generous donation from the Dapper McDonald family as well as a group of individuals from New York who assisted in the process.
As Barry explained individuals with ALS are “transformed overnight” in the ALS Green House homes. They gain “such profound independence”. Below is the announcement of the new home.
We applaud all those who helped make the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence a reality!
The Dapper McDonald ALS Residence at the Leonard Florence Center for Living is now open! Due to an extremely generous donation of $3.5 million – and a commitment to raise $9 million in additional funds – the Chelsea Jewish Foundation was able to open a second home for individuals with ALS. The Center’s first home, the Steve Saling ALS Residence, opened in 2010 and has received world-wide acclaim; the Slifka MS Residence is devoted to residents living with MS.
“We are so pleased to be able to offer another residence to individuals with ALS,” states Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman. “There is such an incredible need for these homes, but the operating costs are extremely high. Thankfully, this donation has helped turn our dream of a second ALS home into reality.”
Richard “Dapper” McDonald was a New York businessman who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. The news came as a shock to the entire family as it was something completely unfamiliar to them. Over the next seven months, the family took their lead from Dapper. He never slowed down or quit. He went to work every day and continued running his business despite the constant struggle. On July 15, 2009, nine months after his diagnosis, Dapper passed from ALS.
After touring the Center in an effort to replicate the home in New York, the family soon realized it was too difficult to develop the staff and technology that was already in place in Boston. As a result, a group of New York residents have donated a $3.5 million leadership gift and have committed to raising $12.5 million in total.
Welcome to all of our new Dapper McDonald residents! We are thrilled to have you join the Chelsea Jewish family.
For the last six years, Patrick O’Brien, has lived in the ALS residence. Barry Berman describes him “as the most amazing individual I have ever met”. Read below the story about Patrick’s movie and where to watch it. The documentary is an amazing story and as Barry explained, Patrick “will always credit The Green House Project for giving him back his life”.
Leonard Florence Center Resident Living with ALS Directed and Produced an Award Winning Documentary!
The amazing documentary film, Transfatty Lives, directed and produced by Leonard Florence Center resident Patrick O’Brien, had its Boston premiere at the Revere Showcase Cinema in Revere on Sunday, April 3. The film won the 2015 Audience Award at the Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, and is a featured selection in film festivals all across the world.
Transfatty Lives takes one on an emotional rollercoaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days as a DJ and filmmaker into the heart of living with ALS. With the support of his friends and family, Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. He is able to capture all of the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life – falling in love and fathering a child along the way.
All proceeds benefit the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. If you missed the premiere, you can still get Transfatty Lives on demand: Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo
It’s a common refrain that adult children hear from their parents: “No matter what, promise that you’ll never put me in a nursing home.” These seniors obviously have not visited a Green House, a unique alternative to the traditional nursing facility.
By highlighting the comprehensive transformation that occurs when an organization implements The Green House model, Garland is able to show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the cornerstone of the model’s effectiveness is the deep relationships that form as a result: “In the traditional nursing home, you don’t have time to develop the relationships that you have in these homes,” says James Farnan, administrator of Eddy Village Green. “When you have the same group of people taking care of the same group of elders, you get to know what they like and don’t like.”
The LeadingAge Conference last week in Boston was attended by over 8,000 participants! It is one of the largest conference for aging services professionals. The Green House Project team attends every year and also participates as an exhibitor. We enjoyed seeing many of our Green House adopters and friends in long term care.
Enjoy the story below from Dr. Eleanor Barbera of McKnight’s, she visited the Leonard Florence Center for Living Green House homes and has written about The Green House Project in the past.
Despite the diversity of the events I attended during my brief visit to the LeadingAge convention in Boston last week, a theme clearly emerged. The thread that ran through the varied offerings was well-being.
In researcher and consultant Joanne L. Smikle, PhD‘s talk on staff retention, rather than focusing on why employees are leaving, she looked instead at why they stay.
Based on her studies of long-term care organizations, she found that “if the leadership of the organization lacks passion, you will have trouble with retention and commitment.”
7th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Raised Over $100,000!
Event Supported Revolutionary Urban Green House® Model Residences
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHELSEA, MA (September 2015) –The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support individuals with ALS and MS as well as the innovative residences at the Leonard Florence for Living, was held on Sunday, September 27, 10am at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill.
The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) is the first urban model GREEN HOUSE® homes in the country and the world’s only fully vented ALS residence. The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment.
Bonnie Berthiaume was the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010. The Center has, quite simply, changed her life. “Since moving here, I have been able to participate in wonderful outings; we have gone to Red Sox games, movies and the theatre,” explains Bonnie. “I have even gone skydiving three times!” The Leonard Florence Center, sponsored by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, consists of ten homes, with ten residents living in each home. The ALS and MS residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades — just by using their eyes.
Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, another LFCL resident, premiered his extraordinary film “TransFatty Lives” at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lauded by both critics and attendees, the film won the “Top Audience Award,” which is the highest possible honor and chosen by peers. Although Patrick needs round-the-clock ventilation, he lives an active and busy life at the Center. In addition to producing films, Patrick travels, attends concerts, sporting events, movies and premiers. “I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” explains O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease yet I have chosen to do something with my illness. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”
Over the years, the ALS & MS Walk for Living has become an integral part of the local community. Over 1000 people attended this year’s walk. The event also honored Everett High School teacher Susan Lomas, who has been involved in the Walk since the start and has been instrumental in getting so many of the Everett High School’s students involved throughout the years. Moreover, Chelsea High School students and their families turned out in full force for this event, as they have in the past.
Popular radio and TV personality Billy Costa, co-host of “Matty in the Morning” on KISS 108, host of “Dining Playbook” on NESN and host of “High School Quiz Show” on WGBH was this year’s emcee and kicked off the two-mile walk. Major corporate sponsors included Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there was a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of our local communities, businesses, residents and their families, and the many friends of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “The Walk for Living is crucial in helping our residents live richer and fuller lives.”
“I was excited to be involved with 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” states Billy Costa. “It is our hope that the Walk for Living will help to raise funds and awareness about living with ALS and MS today. I have lost two close friends to ALS over the last few years, so I understand just how devastating these diseases can be. The technological advances, amenities and services at the Leonard Florence Center for Living are truly inspiring.”
The Green House homes in Chelsea, MA are groundbreaking for many reasons, including having the first residence where people living with ALS can continue to live full and meaningful lives, while getting the care that they need. These homes have incredible technology that enables the residents to control their environment and communicate with the use of high-tech computers. Patrick O’Brian is a film producer and DeeJay who is living with ALS and his film was recently screened at the Tribeca Filmfest.
This extraordinary film focuses upon living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Patrick hopes the film will reach as many people as possible to help increase awareness and mobilization against ALS.
“I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” said Patrick O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease. I have chosen to do something with my illness. As you will see, I turned the cameras on myself and began to document my journey with ALS on 35mm motion picture film. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”
Ten years in the making, TransFattyLives explores what it means to live, what it means to die and what is important in life. Containing no talking heads or lengthy interviews, the film relies instead on a distinct visual style all its own.
Two days before the festival, Patrick received a congratulatory letter from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In the letter, The Governor cited Patrick’s incredible passion, talent, bravery and optimistic outlook. As he put it, “The screening of your film will serve as an inspiration to people worldwide who are fighting their own battles, while raising awareness for ALS.”