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Meet Paul Seidler, a member of the Board of Directors since VABC’s
founding in 2003. On May 5, along with a dedicated planning committee of friends and family, Paul hosted the Inaugural Join the Voices! Chicago 5K Run/Walk. In this profile Paul discusses life, volunteerism, and his powerful, personal connection to VABC.
I live in Chicago with my wife, Alyssa, a 7th grade English teacher, and our 19 month old son, Sam. I oversee business development at Applied Thin Films, Inc. (ATFI), a small Research and Development company that develops advanced ceramics. My wife and I met during our freshman year at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!), and we subsequently attended the University of Chicago for graduate school. Although employment, parenting, and higher education are all wonderful things, they don’t completely define a person. When it comes to self-indulgence, Alyssa and I turn to live music, occasional international travel, and really good but not too expensive red wine.
I’ve been a part of VABC since it was founded in memory of my dear friend, Gary Lichtenstein, who was my roommate in Ann Arbor and also here in Chicago before he was diagnosed with the glioblastoma tumor that ultimately took his life. Gary was awesome: hilarious, smart, and a lot of fun. His spirit lives on in all of us.
How does it feel to “give back” through volunteering and serving on the board?
The easy answer is to say “it feels great.” But I don’t think I can feel that way–like I’ve really accomplished something–until we’ve found a cure. It’s an incredible challenge we’re up against; there’s no room for complacency.
Tell us about the recent Join the Voices! Chicago Run/Walk
We really want VABC to have a major presence in Chicago, so that more patients and families can connect through the organization for fundraising and support. The planning committee–myself, Alyssa, Jeff Schneider, Susan Salita, Jake Young, Alec Panici, and Craig Bernstein–worked really hard to make it a great inaugural event, and our effort really paid off.
It all started with Jeff submitting our permit application to the City of Chicago Park District at the crack of dawn on a very cold morning in early January. After that, we reached out to dozens of local businesses for sponsorships and in-kind donations to help create the family-fun atmosphere that we envisioned. In the end, close to 1,000 people came out to participate on a perfect Spring day. Not only that, but we beat our fundraising goal and the award ceremony for the doctors, caregivers and patients was moving and inspirational for everyone there. Even though there were so many people, it felt intimate, as if we all already knew each other. It was better than we ever anticipated.
Join the Voices! is Growing
Let us Help You Bring a Run/Walk to Your Community
Are you looking for a way to join our fight to end brain cancer? Consider bringing a Join the Voices! Run/Walk to your own community. We’ve developed a step-by-step guide to take you through the entire process from the first committee meeting to the first runner crossing the finish line. And you can get help from VABC staff along the way. Interested? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.