During Survivor: Winners at War, viewers learned about screenwriter Jonathan Penner and his wife Stacy’s fight against ALS, the disease she was diagnosed with in December 2017.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, affects the central nervous system, causing loss of muscle control. It is eventually fatal. Two and a half years after her initial diagnosis, Stacy “can no longer walk, talk, swallow, or breathe without a machine,” Penner revealed during the Survivor segment about their situation.
Now Penner’s “Cook Islands” castmate and friend Yul Kwon is coming together with some of Penner’s Hollywood friends like Jason Alexander and Cary Elwes to raise money for Compassionate Care ALS, an organization that is helping Jonathan and Stacy and other families battling ALS.
Here’s how you can get involved.
Bid on Survivor Swag
Kwon is personally auctioning off a fully signed cast photo from “Cook Islands,” which includes himself, Penner, Candice Woodcock Cody, Parvati Shallow, Ozzy Lusth and the rest of the cast, his buff and map from “Cook Islands,” and his buff from “Winners at War.”
Additionally, there are weekend getaways, sports memorabilia, food and drink gift baskets, a Zoom call with Penner, artwork, and more available through the online auction.
There is a Virtual Gala Being Held Saturday Night
In addition to the auction and also the collecting of donations, which is up to $14,000 at the time of this writing, there is a virtual gala on Saturday, November 14 featuring Jason Alexander, Cary Elwes, and more celebrities.
The description reads:
Join Turn the Screen Green with Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS) in support of individuals living with ALS, their families, and caregivers on Saturday, November 14th at 7 pm EST/ 4 pm PDT! Fundraising from this virtual event will expand CCALS programs to meet the increased need for services brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is free to attend but donations are encouraged in order to provide support to our ALS families during the pandemic.
Turn the Screen Green includes appearances by Founder/Executive Director Ron Hoffman, Oscar-Nominated actor, screenwriter, producer and Survivor contestant Jonathan Penner, along with other celebrity guests! You’ll hear stories of how your support has impacted people living the day-to-day reality of ALS, have the chance to win incredible auction items, and even mix up a signature cocktail!
Penner recently posted a message about the gala, telling fans that “ALS sucks” and he wants everyone to join him to “help us f*ck ALS.”
A message from our sponsor. pic.twitter.com/7amKTk5Ftj
— Jonathan Penner (@SurvivorPenner) November 4, 2020
Jonathan and Stacy Recently Celebrated Their 29th Wedding Anniversary
29 years ago today. There are not enough words. pic.twitter.com/SSX9LB98qi
— Jonathan Penner (@SurvivorPenner) September 14, 2020
September 14 was the Penners’ 29th wedding anniversary. Jonathan asked his followers to send Stacy videos because no one can really visit them right now due to the pandemic.
“Due to Covid, few people can visit, & none can touch Stacy. But she’s terminally ill & really needs some TLC. Please send a reply video I can play her on Monday for our 29th anniversary? Something glad & brave & beautiful? A virtual hug & a kiss? Thank you all & sending love!” wrote Jonathan on Twitter.
Additionally, in October, a group of Survivor castaways, led by Russell Hantz, held a three-hour Fight Against ALS telethon on YouTube. Guests included Hantz, Penner, Lex van den Berghe, Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien, Terry Deitz, Aras Baskauskas, Wendell Holland, Peridiam, Tommy Sheehan, Noura Salman, Dean Kowalski, Rob Cesternino, Spencer Bledsoe, Adam Klein, Kelley Wentworth, Rick Devens, Benjamin “Coach” Wade, Jonny Fairplay, and more.
According to New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery site, approximately half of the people diagnosed with ALS live at least three or more years after diagnosis. About 25 percent live five years or more and up to 10 percent live more than 10 years. Stacy was diagnosed just under three years ago. The Penners have two children, Cooper, 25, and Ava, 21.
I know we’re all stressed. By the election, by Covid, by the future. I get stressed too, all the time. And then I see Stacy. Last week she actually said, ‘I am happy’. For this day. This life. She always helps put things in perspective for me. She will wake soon and be glad. pic.twitter.com/LeMIUSpq3z
— Jonathan Penner (@SurvivorPenner) November 2, 2020