Patricia (Patty) Hogan-Cerasuolo is a legend at Minnechaug Regional High School. Whether it
was a student asking for help, a department member looking for information, or a parent
concerned about their child, her response was always the same: “don’t worry, we’ll figure it out”
– and that’s exactly what would happen. In October 2016, after almost a year of various doctors’
appointments in an attempt to try to find answers to why her jaw was in pain, and her speech was
declining, Patty was informed she had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a
progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord.
Since October, Patty has been going back and forth to Boston to meet with specialists hoping to
find a way to slow down the symptoms. Patty has lost her ability to speak and as of late, her
swallowing and breathing have been greatly affected too. She has been part of one trial that ran
during the spring and has now turned her attention to a drug named Radicava. Radicava was
recently tested in Japan. It has shown success with slowing the progression of ALS symptoms.
Due to its newness in the American market, her insurance will not cover it as of yet. Without the
insurance, it will cost her family $145,000 annually. Along with this, she is facing hospital charges, at-home assistive machines and unexpected future costs due to the aggressive progression of the disease.
Patty has dedicated her life to the education of middle and high school students in Holyoke (Peck
Middle School 1986-1987; 1992-2000) and Wilbraham (Minnechaug Regional High School
2000-2017; History Department Chair 2007-2017). Throughout her years, she has been awarded
Teacher of the Year by the Minnechaug student body and the Harold Grinspoon Excellence in
Teaching Award handed out only to a select few in Western Massachusetts each year. She has
also led Teens Helping Teens at Minnechaug, a group whose goal is community-service to
support teens in our area. Simply put, Patty loves her students and they love her.
This spring Patty had two teams supporting her at the Walk to Defeat ALS at Look Park. She
was joined by colleagues, past students, friends, her husband of 30 years, her two daughters and
two grand-puppies. It was a wonderful day for Patty to see how much she is loved and cherished
in this community.
We are hoping that by establishing this fundraising site, she can receive the treatment and care
that she needs and so deserves. Patty has always been the teacher and friend who put everyone
else in front of herself. She is the first to reach out to someone who is struggling and makes
everyone around her feel taken care of. It’s time for us to say: “Don’t worry, Patty – we’ll figure
it out”. Please donate to help Patty during this time.