Veterans Affairs Team

When: Mondays 3pm – 4pm ET

Co-Chairs: Gill Garcia (living with ALS), Lara Garey (wife/caregiver to a veteran with ALS) and Mandi Bailey (stepdaughter of a veteran with ALS)

Mission Statement: To raise awareness for veteran-specific ALS issues and connect veterans with resources to improve their quality of ALS care.


What do we do:

Team members use our voices to network with veteran-centered organizations and services to identify unique needs and concerns of the veteran community. This includes working with other I AM ALS teams to facilitate legislative action. 


  • Educate and empower veterans with ALS and their loved ones on navigating the healthcare system.
  • Raise awareness of the prevalence of ALS among veterans.
  • Support policy that improves the lives of veterans with ALS and their loved ones by providing them with resources, increasing funding for ALS research and/or providing easier access to clinical trials.


  • Developed a directory of resources for veterans with ALS and their caregivers.
  • Alongside the I AM ALS staff, helped develop the “Understanding Your Risks” and “Understanding and Navigating the VA” resources. (See https://iamals.org/veterans/)

What are we working on:  

  • Developing ongoing collaborative relationships with veteran-centric organizations.
  • Creating an outreach strategy to raise awareness about the prevalence of ALS among veterans.
  • Working with the I AM ALS legislative team on ALS-related legislation.
  • Conducting a survey of veterans’ and their caregivers’ experiences to provide constructive feedback to the Veterans Affairs Hospital’s executive committee on ALS. If you are a veteran or veteran’s caregiver and receive care at the VA, fill out their survey!



Katrina Byrd

a loved one of someone we've lost to ALS, ALS advocate

Team Members

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