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Contact Us

If you would like more information about The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter and the services we provide, please use the contact information below.




By Mail:

4 N. Blount St., Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27601

Our Staff

Jerry Dawson
President & CEO

Where I grew up: Fayetteville, NC
Where I live now: Clayton, NC
Joined the Chapter: March 2000

Motivation for working with ALS: I have always enjoyed helping others and my position with The ALS Association allows me to make a difference every day. This is by far the most rewarding work I have ever done.

Hobbies: Spending time with my family (wife Becky, daughters Samantha and Savannah) and friends, live music, travel, playing guitar, bad golf and grilling out.

Lisa Hoskins, MSW, LCSW
Director of Care Services and Advocacy

919-755-9001, ext. 241 or 919-755-0409

Where I grew up: Shelby, NC
Where I live now: Raleigh, NC
Joined the Chapter: March 2011

Motivation for working with ALS: My parents were helping professionals, my father a sociologist and my mother a nurse, so not surprisingly I chose medical social work! I have always been passionate about advocating for the needs of others. I have both my Bachelor and Master of Social Work. The ALS network is a rich community and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

Hobbies: Staying active, trying new things and spending time with my husband and two daughters. In my spare time I read, travel and watch science fiction. I have been a scuba diver since 2005 - it's always an adventure and you never know what you're going to encounter!

Lynn Sanderson, BSW
Senior Care Services Manager

919-755-9001, ext. 261 or 336-757-2000

Where I grew up: Stamford, CT
Where I live now: Kernersville, NC
Joined the Chapter: February 2014

Motivation for working with ALS: Social workers are generalists, meaning that we can work in a variety of fields. Working as a medical social worker first opened up my initial experiences with patients with a diagnosis of ALS. I was the social services director at sub-acute and skilled nursing facilities in Pensacola, Fla. It was in these facilities that I met three people with a diagnosis of ALS. A patient’s wife gave me a piece of paper with the information available on ALS and it wasn’t even a ½ page long. I have been motivated to help people with ALS and their families ever since.

Hobbies: What I enjoy the most is being with my grandchildren and family. I enjoy football, reading, dogs, music and standing with my feet in the water at the beach at sunrise or sunset with my husband.

Margie Petrakis, RRT, RN, CCM
Care Services Manager

919-755-9001, ext. 220 or 919-390-0120

Where I grew up: Pacifica, CA - 14 miles south of San Francisco on the coast. I lived in the Sierra Mountains just north of Yosemite for the last 30 years.
Where I live now: Fayetteville, NC
Joined the Chapter: February 2018, having worked with The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in California since 2007

Motivation for working with ALS: I have worked for many years with the ALS population and their families and am inspired daily by their courage, positivity and creativity in managing their particular needs. I have worked across the continuum of care in ALS. I started working with ALS as a respiratory therapist in the home health arena, then after getting my nursing degree worked with several people with ALS in the home again. I found myself in frequent communication with an ALS multidisciplinary clinic in San Francisco, where I landed a job as their respiratory therapist. I worked with this team for seven years then transitioned to The ALS Association, never looking back!

Hobbies: Walking my dog Bo, reading, hiking and spending time with my grandchildren here in North Carolina.

Jocelyn Chrisley, MSW
Care Services Coordinator

919-755-9001, ext. 226 or 919-390-0126

Where I grew up: Raleigh, NC
Where I live now: Charlotte, NC
Joined the Chapter: June 2018

Motivation for working with ALS: In my practice as a social worker, I have had the opportunity to work with families as they navigate the challenges of life-limiting illness. I believe providing these families with support is powerful and productive.

Hobbies: I could spend all day reading or practicing yoga. Maybe even reading while yoga-ing.

Meg Whitaker, MSW
Care Services Coordinator

919-755-9001, ext. 222 or 919-390-0119

Where I grew up: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Where I live now: Raleigh, NC
Joined the Chapter: October 2018

Motivation for working with ALS: I have experience in various medical social work positions. l've always been drawn to helping families through support and advocacy. Through my social work career, as well as with my personal family experience, I have learned to give and utilize support. I feel honored to now be in a position where I can give encouragement and education to families facing challenges of ALS.

Hobbies: Exploring the Triangle with my family, trying to finish books for my monthly book club, and dance parties with my kids

Claudia Beirne
Senior Care Services Programs Manager

919-755-9001, ext. 225 or 919-390-0125

Where I grew up: Linden, NJ
Where I live now: Apex, NC
Joined the Chapter: November 2007

Motivation for working with ALS: It is a wonderful feeling to know that every day I come to work I am in some way making a difference in the life of someone that needs help and support.

Hobbies: Reading, movies, music and spending time with my family and friends!

Jackie Suarez
Director of Philanthropy

919-755-9001, ext. 240 or 919-390-0129

Where I grew up: Toledo, OH
Where I live now: Cary, NC
Joined the Chapter: July 2014

Motivation for working with ALS: The motivation for working for ALS can be found in my desire to put the patient and their families first in everything I do. I want to use my skills in a way that contributes to the fight to defeat ALS.

Hobbies: Cooking, writing, playing with my dog Lucca and traveling.

Christine Duque
Director of Special Events

919-755-9001, ext. 231 or 919-390-0138

Where I grew up: I was born in Corpus Christi, TX, but lived mostly in Lafayette, LA, San Diego and Houston as a child.
Where I live now: Cary, NC
Joined the Chapter: January 2015

Motivation for working with ALS: I am moved to work with ALS to help fund the research that will find a cure for ALS after hearing stories of committed volunteers whose families have dealt with ALS.

Hobbies: I love group fitness classes of all kinds, especially the hip-shaking of Zumba. I feel that my need to work out goes hand-in-hand with the joy of baking. My husband and I enjoy traveling in North Carolina to discover places we’ve never been and sights unseen. We also feel incredibly fortunate to have all of our immediate family in state, allowing us plenty of time to hang out with our seven nieces and nephews.

Leah Strom
Corporate Development Specialist

919-755-9001, ext. 230 or 919-390-0103

Where I grew up: Grand Forks, ND, Aviano, Italy and Fayetteville, NC
Where I live now: Raleigh, NC
Joined the Chapter: March 2017

Motivation for working with ALS: I feel unbelievably blessed to have the opportunity to work for an organization with a mission I am passionate about and with a group of people who are fervently working to make a difference in the lives of pALS and cALS in North Carolina. Giving people hope that one day we will defeat ALS is truly fulfilling.

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my husband, Andrew, and our ‘rescue’ dog, Cash. After three years of living in south Florida, I am thrilled to be back in the same state as my immediate family and closest friends. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, baking, reading and being a couch potato.

Avery Goldman
Community Development Specialist

919-755-9001, ext. 221 or 919-390-0121

Where I grew up: McLean, VA
Where I live now: Raleigh, NC
Joined the Chapter: February 2019

Motivation for working with ALS: I am inspired by people’s super-human abilities to overcome obstacles and persevere in the face of adversity. I transitioned from a corporate sales background to this mission-based career to enable me to support the ALS community of North Carolina directly. I hope my work expands awareness around ALS, provides more resources to treat the disease and find the cure, and amplifies the stories of the brave people living with ALS and those who care for and support them.

Hobbies: I help manage a young professional volunteer club in the Triangle and I work part-time at Marbles Kids Museum to assist with special events. I enjoy cooking, spending time with friends & family, and exploring all the great experiences in Raleigh and the Triangle!

Melanie McCullough
Director of Communications

919-755-9001, ext. 242 or 919-390-0122

Where I grew up: Middleburg, FL, Lemoore, CA, Fairfax, VA and St. Louis, MO
Where I live now: Cary, NC
Joined the Chapter: November 2015

Motivation for working with ALS: I believe each of us can make a difference in the world, and am honored to work with a team of caring individuals who are committed to making a positive impact on the world and on the lives of people living with ALS. I have seen the debilitating nature of ALS, but I have also seen hope provided by fundraising and research. I am humbled to have the opportunity to help spread that hope by working as part of a team dedicated to providing care and finding treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS.

Hobbies: Photography, travel, sports, theatre and spending time with family and friends.

Holly Zahn
Director of Finance and Operations

919-755-9001, ext. 223 or 919-390-0123

Where I grew up: Chapel Hill, NC
Where I live now: Raleigh, NC
Joined the Chapter: June 2012

Motivation for working with ALS: I really enjoy people. I spent five-plus years working and playing with the Carolina Rollergirls (also a not-for-profit) and I realized I would appreciate working in the not-for-profit sector not just in a volunteer capacity. I think I am naturally a caregiver and am pleased that I have found a way to utilize my skills to contribute to a better good on a daily basis.

Hobbies: When not taking care of a pair of twin 5-year-olds, I enjoy hula hooping and playing ukulele.

For a listing of our Outreach Professionals, click here.