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Deborah Silver is a singer and philanthropist who has a heart for helping others. With the recent launch of her organization SLAM ALS and her second studio album, “The Gold Standards,” she’s using her passions for something greater than herself.
“Slam!” It’s dunking a basketball through a hoop, closing a planner after a long day of work, stomping a foot during a dance or even shutting a door. It’s any of the above, caught on video, with a call-out to others challenging them to make their own interpretation of the sound. And it’s all in an effort to raise money for ALS.
Deborah Silver, a wife and mother of two who lives in Delray Beach, is not only a singer who recently topped the Billboard charts with her recent album,“The Gold Standards.” But she’s also the founder of the organization SLAM ALS.
After the delivery of her second child, Silver was diagnosed with transient osteoporosis, a rare bone disease prominent only in men and pregnant women. She would spend a year in a wheelchair, where not only did nurses have to care for her, but they also had to care for her two children born only 15 months apart. “There [were] 201 reported cases [of the disease], and I was lucky No. 201,” Silver says. “I saw a whole other way of life, and I’m lucky enough because I was able to walk out of it.”
Once Silver could go about a “normal life” again, she says that she became more empathetic toward those with disabilities. And in 2009 she would have to watch her sister, Marjie Block, receive a diagnosis: ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which would severely weaken her muscles and impact her physical function. It also isn’t curable.
“Our family began its mission pretty much as soon as we heard the bad news to try and really help and cure this disease,” Silver says.
It came as no surprise that she decided to take matters into her own hands by working tirelessly with her family to raise money. They held estate sales and “battles of the bands.” But that wasn’t enough. So, Silver and her daughter, Madison, created and executed something even greater: SLAM ALS. Carrying on the mission from the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, this grassroots effort where people “slam” and make a donation is a next step in helping find a cure for a disease that 5,600 people are diagnosed with each year. Proceeds from the organization benefit The ALS Association and Project ALS.
With the help of notables including Larry King slamming his suspenders on national TV and Vanilla Ice slamming an ice sculpture, to the cast of “Matilda” on Broadway challenging the cast of “Hamilton” to slam on stage, word spread globally, and it’s just getting started. Silver has raised more than $115,000 from her work with SLAM ALS paired with other fundraisers and events.
But as she’s been a voice for this movement, she hasn’t forgotten about the other voice in her life: her own.
After the release of her first album “Pure Silver,” from which all proceeds benefited ALS research, Silver went on to record her latest studio album, “The Gold Standards,” which released in September, and reached the Billboard charts. It is a compilation of standards from “The Great American Songbook,” produced by Steve Tyrell and two-time Grammy winner Alan Broadbent. The music recorded includes classics that Silver performs with her own spin. Net sales from her release day, and from iTunes and Amazon on a specially requested second day, have also gone to fund research on ALS.
“I felt I had an incredible opportunity to make a difference that could help hopefully with finding a cure for ALS,” she says. “... I think it’s important for anyone who’s on stage or in the public eye to always do their own fair share in helping and giving back to the community.”
And while Silver uses her passions for making a difference, she’s hoping others will join in, too.
“In this case, maybe this is my calling. Maybe I’ll be able to help people through my music and [in] more ways than one [by] starting SLAM ALS. I’ve got a few different avenues out there, and so hopefully someone will pick one of the avenues ... purchase a download, do a slam, or what would be my dream would be to do both,” Silver says. “I’m trying to make a difference, and I’m hoping to make a difference with my voice.”