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A challenge to all Philadelphia athletes and sports fans to support ALS research

Bernie Parent
Read the original article on Philly.com.

I went to Hahnemann University Hospital five months ago to meet with Dr. Terry Heiman-Patterson and visit some patients that had been diagnosed with ALS. It was heartbreaking. How can you go from being a completely healthy, functioning individual and progress to a state of total incapacitation in a matter of months? You literally lose everything.

The only time we really heard of ALS awareness prior to the Ice Bucket Challenge in our community was the Phillies Phestival, held annually to raise money specifically to “strike out ALS.” This year’s event was held in May, and in the months following (like so many years before), ALS would fall to the wayside. People would go about their lives, forgetting all about it until the next Phillies Phestival would be scheduled.

But, oh, how the universe works in mysterious ways. Along come a couple of individuals that dedicate themselves to raising awareness for this debilitating disease by dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads and challenging their family members and friends to do the same.

A ripple effect is born. Then the videos go viral, and not only do those people’s friends and family start dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, but athletes and celebrities take on the cause. And in the meantime, in the background of all of this chaos and the social media frenzy, the donations come pouring in; more than the ALS Foundation has ever seen before.

If you didn’t know about ALS before, it would be impossible not to know now. You can’t go five minutes a day without hearing about it! This campaign has emerged and branched out in massive, national proportions, and will probably be marked as one of the most successful awareness and fundraising events for a disease or cause in history.

And as a follow up to my last article about being grateful for what we have, I can’t stress enough how lucky we are to be healthy, to be able to walk, talk, eat, laugh, and enjoy ourselves. Right now, I have the ability to describe to you my feelings and emotions, because in the blink of an eye, all of that can be taken away.

I wasn’t aware that only 30,000 people in the country are currently diagnosed with this disease. I wasn’t aware that the disease could take your life anywhere within 6 months to 5 years. It’s an aggressive, nasty disease that completely robs you of quality of life. But now, we know.

Appreciate all you have, because the awareness that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has brought to the forefront of our minds on a national level cannot be ignored.

In time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will fade away, but as a community, we have a responsibility to keep this cause in the forefront of our minds, and not let it fade into the background to become just another “internet sensation.”

I, Bernie Parent, challenge YOU to join me in keeping ALS awareness alive on a community level. Let’s bring support to OUR homefront and help the ALS Hope Foundation, located right here in Philadelphia, PA, reach their goals for those suffering with ALS in our very own backyard.

I’m calling out ALL Philadelphia athletes (present and alumni), sports fans and corporations alike to walk with me at the 7th Annual Hope Walks for ALS at 12 p.m. on Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at Valley Forge Military Academy, 1001 Eagles Road, Wayne, PA 19087.

Our goal is to raise $100,000, but personally, I think we can exceed that. The first 500 individuals at the registration table that day will receive a free hard cover copy of my book, Journey Through Risk and Fear.

Whether you’d like to walk with me for a small donation of $25, or donate on a corporate level with sponsorships, visit www.alshopefoundation.org TODAY!

Let’s see how many saves we can make as a community in the City of Brotherly Love!

Click here to register for the event.

The Bethesda Project July Newsletter

The Bethesda Project July Newsletter

Click on the image above to be redirected to The Bethesda Project’s July Newsletter

and find out how you can help this great cause!

The Bethesda Project: A Caring Family for Philadelphia’s Homeless

Big Thank You to All Bethesda Project Supporters

Bethesda Project Gala & Auction


I’d like to personally thank ALL of the wonderful supporters of The Bethesda Project, a caring family for Philadelphia’s homeless.

A special “thank you” to Ray Mirra and RAM Consulting Group LLC for your phenomenal, continued support,

bringing the Jersey Boys for our entertainment, and all of your philanthropic efforts.

This year’s Annual Gala & Auction held at the Diamond Club in Citizens Bank Park raised an astounding $229,875!

To learn more about the Bethesda Project and its efforts, click here.

Ask Bernie: Philadelphia Takes Cares of its Own

Bernie ParentRead the original post on Philly.com.

Why do so many Philadelphia athletes decide to stay around the city or within the organization after retirement?

- Lou S
Washington Township, NJ

The media loves to downplay and criticize Philadelphia (snowballs and Santa Claus … enough said). But I don’t think the media ever focuses on how receptive the people of this area are, were and continue to be. The national media shuns us, gives us the black eye, and always focuses on the negative, in all sports. I’m not sure if the media just doesn’t care, or refuses to acknowledge the beauty of the people living in this area. You know what? Maybe the Broad Street Bullies brought this on themselves. Phil Esposito said it well, “Yea, we’re tough. But to win a championship, you have to have talent, too.”

And this applies to all of our Philadelphia teams.

But most importantly, the people of the Philadelphia region become your family. And truthfully, that’s why a lot of players stay here. I can walk the streets of Philadelphia and feel a part of this family. No matter what they say about Philadelphia and its residents, the city as a whole embraces you with open arms. And Philadelphia takes care of its own.

Hi Bernie. I’m writing in for some advice. I was married for 20 years but recently divorced. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a taste of the dating game, and I wanted to know how I can muster up the confidence to get out there and try again? Times have certainly changed, and I want to stay true to myself and my beliefs. Any advice for a man that’s looking for some companionship without a clue where to start?

- Joe C
Philadelphia, PA

I applaud you for staying true to yourself and not staying a slave to your situation. So many people are afraid, rightfully so, to hurt others (especially if children are involved), so they just go through the motions and never allow themselves to live the life they were meant to live. If you’ve exhausted all options in your relationship and the next logical step is to go your separate ways, it will be a difficult decision, but make it for your happiness and the happiness of your loved ones.

I’ve been divorced for 20 years, but I made a promise to myself and my family, that we will ALWAYS remain family. But I wouldn’t let myself continue to live in that environment. At the same time, it was my responsibility to make sure my family is taken care of.

If you’ve fallen in love and gotten married at a young age, after a while, you may realize that you no longer have the same vision as your partner. And that’s ok.

Where to start? Start with never forgetting where you came from. Study your past situation and where you were. The confidence will come with simply putting yourself out there. Allow yourself to meet people; different people. Put yourself in situations to find like-minded people that you’re compatible with and enjoy their company. Find things you like to do together. Figure out what you have in common to build a good foundation. Find the qualities you like in a person and run with it. You may be surprised in the qualities you like in other people today, as opposed to 25 years ago. But if you find yourself wasting time with someone that doesn’t have the same vision and interests in life as you, move on.

At any point in your career or life, have you ever been faced with a situation where you’ve been forced to make a tough decision that was life altering? If so, what was that predicament? The reason I ask is I’ve been a life long Philly sports fan with a very close family. I’ve recently moved to Boston for my career, and really enjoy the city (but not the sports teams). I’d like to hear how you’ve handled adversity when you were questioning a decision you’ve made, or a predicament you were in to possibly give me some direction.

- Dan R

First, I want you to find your purpose. If the tough decision that you are about to make will help you get closer to your purpose, go for it. Only you can make the right decision for yourself and your goals. You have to shut down the opinions of others without hurting anyone. Your main focus should be serving your purpose. People you don’t even know will come into your life and help you move forward. I’ve had to make countless life-altering decisions, and I did it my way. I think Frank Sinatra and I would have been great friends.

Frank Sinatra “My Way”

“And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that;
And may I say – not in a shy way,
“No, oh no not me,
I did it my way”.

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!”

Switching from feature articles to an interactive, “Ask Bernie” platform has given me more opportunities to connect and communicate with my fans! We had so many great questions submitted within the last couple of weeks, and I hope you enjoy the topics I’ve picked. Would you like to participate? I welcome any questions pertaining to sports/life/current events/relationships/etc. to questions@bernieparent.net. I’ll randomly choose two or three questions to feature in my bi-weekly articles on Philly.com. Hope to hear from you soon!

Flyers on Right Track to a Championship

Bernie ParentRead the original article on Philly.com.

Well, the season is over. And boy, is it disappointing. But there’s also something to be excited about. As a fan, I’m optimistic because I know we have a core of good, young players – including two great goalies – that will continue to develop going into next season.

Mason is one of the top five goalies in the league. He had a heck of a season, and his performance in the playoff series against the Rangers solidified that.

When Emery was called on, there was nothing more we could have asked of him than to play well, and he did. In the words of the great Fred Shero, “You may only play five minutes, but those five minutes could win or lose the game.”

With Emery, if he only plays 15 or 20 games, it’s the same level of importance as if Mason plays 60 games. These two goalies complement each other very well.

What do I like most about Mason? His passion. I could see it in his face last night after the game. He wasn’t grinning on his way off the ice; or thinking, “We’ll get ‘em next year;” or ready to pick up his golf clubs and set tee time for 8 a.m. on Friday. I could feel the pain in his face. You can’t buy that passion.

That passionate goaltender is who you want on your team going forward. And that pain? It’s important in his development as a young goalie to have that pain right now. It will inspire him to come back bigger, better and stronger next year. He may be walking away with this loss, but it’s something he needs to experience in a clutch situation in order to move on to the next level.

Do we need adjustments as far as the entire team is concerned? Of course. You can never stand still and make it to your destination.

Losing is a learning phase, and our fan base isn’t going anywhere. They’re the greatest fans in the world, and as angry as they may get, they’ll be back next year. Believe me. Our fans will support us until their very last breaths.

The Flyers should be focused on winning, starting with game one and all throughout the rest of the season, so they can be sure to secure home ice advantage and have the honor of playing in front our electric fan base.

You could finish first or finish second. If you finish first, you get home ice advantage. If you finish second, as the Flyers saw, you lose home ice. When you have two strong teams, those who have home ice advantage are more likely to prevail today.

Walking away from this series, a first round exit, and the fans are all talking about Mason. He showed up, he proved a lot, he handled himself well, especially coming back from an injury, and made some absolutely phenomenal saves. Some saves only a seasoned goalie could make. Even with this loss, we have no hard feelings toward the goaltender, at all.

Paul Holmgren has been catching some heat, but let’s give praise where it’s due. Holmgren brought us our staring goaltender. We haven’t had a goaltender like this in a very long time, since Ron Hextall even.

I want to also give a shout out to Craig Berube, Ian Laperriere, John Paddock and Jeff Reese. You guys have done a heck of a job.

Let’s talk about something here. The Flyers started the season off pretty slow and Berube didn’t come in until later. I can’t stress enough how important it is for a coach to be with their team and set the tone during training camp. Berube had a whole year with the team, but he didn’t have a training camp.

The adjustment has been made, and the players respect him and play for him now. I like that his criticism is done behind closed doors. The guys play very well under Berube. He manages the locker room well and each player believes in himself.

If I was playing today, and our season was over, I’d spend some time reflecting back to what I could have done better to win that game. Spend some time on it. “What did you do right? What mistakes were made? How can I improve my game?”

The imagination is a heck of a tool, and envisioning your mistakes and correcting them can do a lot for an athlete. Then, you move on. And although you have a couple months off, you have to be ready for the next season.

You can try to detach yourself from this game, but you can’t. Honestly, after losing, I lost all interest in the playoffs. I didn’t care to watch. You just move on. Your journey for the Stanley Cup has come to an end, and you’re almost mourning. You have your grieving period, you enjoy some time off, and you start all over again.

All of this is part of the journey toward a championship. And out of the Philadelphia Eagles, 76ers, Phillies and Flyers, the Flyers are in the best position to bring a championship to Philadelphia. Mark my words.

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