The Beckie Cooper Fund for Research

It began as a job, and quickly became a calling.

Beckie Cooper, the first and only executive director to date of The ALS Association Keith Worthington Chapter, retires at the end of 2013, after 26 years of devoted service.

With less than $80,000 and a closet-sized office, Beckie built one of the strongest Chapters of The ALS Association in the country. Now with a more than $2 million budget, the Chapter is the premier provider of services and support for people with ALS and their families in Kansas, Nebraska and western Missouri.

Early in her career Beckie--a wife and mother to two children--was a special education teacher and a volunteer before she decided to open her own business, where she worked with nonprofit organizations needing help with special events, operations and board development. It was in this role, that Beckie came to the attention of the newly-formed Keith Worthington ALS Society which subsequently affiliated with The ALS Association. In 1988, Beckie was delighted to take the reigns as the Chapter’s first Executive Director.

Through Beckie’s visionary leadership, the Chapter has significantly grown, expanding its service area to include three states and increasing the number of certified clinics offering multi-disciplinary care to people with ALS. In addition to the Board and volunteers, the Chapter has a staff of 21, offices in Kansas City, Wichita, Omaha and Springfield, and serves more than 450 families.

Beckie’s dream has been for everyone with ALS to have access to state-of-the-art care at an ALS clinic and she has been instrumental in expanding the number of clinics organized and supported by the Chapter. With the ALS Certified Center at the University of Kansas, the soon-to-be certified center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Recognized Treatment Center in the Ozarks, her dream has been realized.

What started as a job that Beckie took on with high energy and creativity swiftly turned into her life’s work. She has devoted 26 years to fighting for a world without ALS. The friendships forged along the way have truly made a lasting impression on her and will never be forgotten.

While Beckie is officially retiring, her commitment to the mission of The ALS Association remains steadfast. She truly believes we are so close to discovering the cause of ALS but that there is still more work to be done. Her focus on and passion for supporting people with ALS will continue with the Beckie Cooper Promise Fund for Research. This Fund created in her honor highlights her achievements and leadership - but more importantly, gives hope to people with ALS and support to those researchers on the front lines working furiously to uncover the mystery of this devastating disease.

You are invited to share a thought, story or wish for Beckie in the Guest Book. Please consider in her honor and in honor of all those who live with ALS, with awe-inspiring tenacity and courage.

Honoring Beckie

Click here to listen to all of the Spoken Tributes.