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August Volunteer of the Month: Gia Savidge

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”

– Elton John

Our August Volunteer of the Month Gia Savidge has been bringing the healing power of music to the Walk to Defeat ALS since 2018. She first brought her talents to the Chapter when her company was contacted by the Chapter to be part of the Walk. Since then, she has shared her musical talents at the Walks in Seaside and Ocean City, NJ, and she is always eager to join the event to make it special.

Gia is a performer with GP Entertainment and has worked as a DJ since 2014. Before DJing, Gia taught hip-hop dance at after-school programs and did dance for parties, bar mitzvahs, and other events. While her company continued dancing, they became more involved in DJ entertainment. This quickly led to the company’s full transition into a DJ entertainment company, servicing all affairs from weddings, bar mitvahs, community events, and more.

Being a DJ is more than just hitting play on a stereo. Gia has spent a lot of time training and developing skills to provide entertainment for people of all ages and musical tastes. She mixes and scratches records to get the right sounds for her events so that all attendees have an enjoyable experience.

While Gia was not personally connected to ALS before she joined the Chapter, she turned out to be the perfect fit for ALS events because of her work at hospitals and for people with disabilities of all ages. She performed for people with disabilities during her time in Pittsburgh and, more recently, brought her musical talents for events with Thomas Jefferson University Health System and at Nemours Childrens Health. She would DJ, play games, dance, and make sure that everybody had fun and was included.

Those experiences added to Gia’s empathy for people who have challenging health conditions. Helping people and making others smile has always been part of Gia’s personality. She recalls how she would help her classmates as far back as when she was in 3rd grade because she wanted everyone to be included.

Gia’s first Walk to Defeat ALS was emotional. “It was so moving to see the support of so many people who are touched by ALS,” Gia said. “It means a lot to see that people do not have to face this disease alone. They do not have to feel isolated.”

Music helps to bring people together. That’s Gia’s gift to the hundreds of people gathering at each Walk. She curates music to create a positive mood, celebrates everyone’s accomplishments, and takes requests for favorite songs. For many teams, this is the one time in the year when so many friends and family members can gather, knowing that this might be the last time that they may all be together. When Gia DJs, she doesn’t just play music, she makes memories.

“My goal is to move people with music,” said Gia. “I pride myself on my upbringing with being around so much music, from Willie Nelson to the Jackson 5 to the Beatles and even heavy metal, rap, and punk rock. When I became a DJ, I wanted to be in environments of diversity so that I could bring all kinds of music to everybody. With the ALS Walk, it’s a serious matter to find a cure and get the support that people need. While we are raising money, let’s have fun doing it.”

The Walk to Defeat ALS is an important fundraising event, but it is the positive experiences that keep people coming back each year. Gia’s musical skills add to a day that is special for all. “I can use music to make you feel better,” added Gia. “If I do my job right, you’re going to remember that day with a smile, and maybe one of the songs you hear on the radio will bring you back to that happy memory.”

Just as Gia’s talents have made the Walks better, Gia says that volunteering has made her own performances better by keeping her attuned to the needs and wants of others. When she was a DJ at a wedding, a young girl with a disability was interested in her work, and Gia invited her to learn all about her equipment so that she would feel welcome and special. To Gia, it’s an example of how the lessons from the Walk to Defeat ALS have inspired her and helped her “pay it forward” to her community and to the next generation.

Gia says that her job is to make people smile. If that is her top job description, then she is doing her job very well. For the past few years, Gia has brought smiles to people with ALS, caregivers, surviving family members, and other friends and supporters of the ALS cause. Her music, enthusiasm and kindness have created memories that will live with people for many years to come.

Thank you, Gia, for moving us with your musical talents and for making our events that much more special.

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