Nothing could prepare Bob Poiesz for dealing with the physical demands of ALS. However, when Bob was diagnosed with ALS by Dr. Zach Simmons at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in January 2015, he was determined from the start to face each day and each challenge with positivity and humor. From the start, Bob drew strength and inspiration from his father’s battle, not against ALS, but against cancer.
Bob watched his father endure a very difficult battle with cancer, but through that all, his dad told jokes and found joy in making others smile. The best lessons that parents teach are rarely the ones given in lectures, but instead through a lived example. Watching his dad deal with cancer and continue to be upbeat, loving, and funny helped prepare Bob for his own challenges. He saw how that joking attitude made life easier for his father and the positive effect it had on the family and circle of caregivers. Now Bob emulates his father every day, which makes it easier on the Poiesz family and the team at Hershey Medical Center. The nurses and professionals have to deliver difficult direction and news to Bob and his wife, but Bob’s attitude makes it easier on all of them, doing his part to ease their stress and provide comfort and joy even on the toughest of days.
That positive attitude helps Bob continue his life beyond ALS. He is still working from home as a Principal Policy Analyst for the American Medical Association and he has been involved in developing health care technology for the past 25 years. At work, he has been known to bring chocolate to meetings and give out rubber duckies at holidays all year round. Bob has loved teaching and public speaking, which have always been about bringing happiness to others in addition to being educational.
It should come as no surprise then that Bob loves to play the role of Santa Claus at Christmas. He hands out tree ornaments to his nieces and nephews and enjoys every minute of it. Bob Poiesz has always tried to live life to the fullest and to take in all that the world provides. He and his wife Cathy have been on 11 cruises and, even though he is living with ALS, he is hoping to go on at least one more cruise together.
While Bob has explored the world and enjoyed adventures with his wife, nothing has made him prouder or happier than raising three children, who are all now adults continuing the Poiesz legacy. His daughter Cindy, inspired by her dad’s positive outlook, registered a family team for the 2016 Hershey Walk to Defeat ALS® called Bob’s Besties. Since they started organizing family and friends on social media, the support has been tremendous. The “Besties” have raised $6,000 already to support the team, making Bob’s team one of the top family teams for the walk on June 4th.
Cindy, Cathy, Bob and the rest of the team are prepared for the walk to be an emotional experience. While they are preparing to walk, they are finding motivation in Bob’s positivity. That attitude, passed down from Bob’s dad, is inspiring the whole family and everyone that has had the pleasure to be one of Bob’s Besties over the years.
Throughout his life and career, Bob Poiesz has brightened the lives of those around him. Now those people are rallying to his side. Join Bob, his besties, and many more on June 4th at the Hershey Walk to Defeat ALS. Register at www.hersheywalktodefeatals.org
Bob’s goals of brightening the lives of others sure shined through at the walk. Bob’s Besties had nearly 100 family, friends and co-workers join them at the Walk to Defeat ALS! In true form, Bob typed and numbers all of his jokes and compiled them into Bob’s Book of Jokes. As the team walked, each person’s t-shirt had a number on the back, so everybody took a turn reading a joke from Bob’s Book of Jokes. It was a truly unique moment for the walk that nobody will forget.
Bob’s Besties raised over $10,000, won 2nd place overall for team fundraising, and was the 1st place rookie team. They loved the support from so many people and it made their experience one that they will never forget.