A Giving Life

Kathryn Voit passed away last night.  Kathryn, of Cheltenham, had lived with ALS for more than 10 years.  That in itself is inspirational to those diagnosed with the disease, but her contributions to improving people’s lives just begins there.  She was a particularly meaningful person to the folks who work at the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter.  Kathryn was a constant reminder of the importance of love and the irreplaceable power of touch.  Even as the ability to communicate became difficult, her soul and mind composed a poem that expresses what we all should know about the needs of  people with ALS, and likely other serious illnesses, and how  the behaviors of those around them change.  The poem is called “To Touch” and it is written below.  It tells the vital importance of being  hugged, of being touched in ordinary ways that most of us take for granted but that too often are abandoned or forgotten when a person’s illness progresses.

                                     To Touch


Babies are swaddled.

Tots are picked up.

Children want to be cuddled,

Folks still touch when grownup.


Adults need their skin pressed

From handshake to hug.

Healing arms are therapy.

Touch is a wonder drug.


Those sitting in wheelchairs

May be yearning for an embrace.

If hesitant, just ask,

Then, watch their face.


Skin is our largest organ,

Not only for protection

But expressing inner feelings,

Profound communication.


The brush of lips,

Pressure from an arm,

Holding hands generates a glow.

All variants have charm.


Thrill to tactile sensation,

And give it generously.

There are people near at hand,

Who need touch desperately.



Thank you, Kathryn, for this and for your entire, wonderful life.  Kathryn Voit was 80.  My condolences to Kathryn’s family, especially her husband, Gerry, and to her extended family at the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter.

ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a disease of the nerve cells. More information can be found at www.alsphiladelphia.org.

Keep on Mummin!

The members of the Fancy Brigade Association and the members of the Wench Brigade Association each held their respective annual banquets this weekend and a pleasant time was guaranteed for all.

Jackie Bam Bam, the Alice Cooper of Mummery, rocked the Waterfall Room in South Philadelphia.  Jackie McCann and Captain Kenny Medeiros accepted the award for 1st Prize Fancy Club for Hog Island.  Honors were awarded in all the major categories judged on New Year’s Day.

However, the show stopper of the night was 4-year-old Danny Fundora, who took 1st Prize in the Juvenile Category for his “Captain Jack.”

Danny could very well be a future Captain.  He’s got the moves, (he’s a natural line dancer) and the attitude. Quite the scene-stealer, young Mr. Daniel is.

Deb & MattCongratulations also go to Debbie Glovacz and Chuck Erbenich who are now inducted into the Fancy Association Hall of Fame.  Debbie, seen above with husband, Matt, is a great person and also one of the hardest working people in Golden Sunrise N.Y.A. and at the Mummers Museum.  Chuck, for 20 years, since he first appeared as King Arthur, to his many years of service in Golden Sunrise, and to his helping all of Mummery through his work on the Museum Board, is also a vital member of the Mummers community.  He wears a hat well, too.

The fast-growing Wench Brigade Association was also partying and honoring in South Philadelphia at Nicole Renee Occasions.  Chalie McKenna  and the gang are always welcoming and I don’t know what a year would be like without a smack from Gootch.  Congratulations to O’Malley N.Y.A. and all the winners, and all the inductees into the Hall of Fame: George Stewart (that’s him with the good looking family), Jack McQuilkin, Mike McNulty, Hank Brown, John Walsh and last but not least to Mr. Eddie Szymborski, of Oregon.  Ed now holds the distinct honor of induction into 2 Halls of Fame, the Wench Brigade and the Fancy. 

Here are some more scenes from the Wench Brigade and Fancy Association Banquets, starting with “Pop” Bryson and ending with Christine, the great daughter of Ed Szymborski.