May is ALS Awareness Month
May is just around the corner and there is so much to celebrate now that the flowers are in bloom! Cince de Mayo (like I need another excuse to enjoy a margarita on a sunny patio), Mother’s Day, my Wedding Anniversary, my Mother’s and my Son’s Birthday, the end of another School Year, Memorial Day, etc. Just about every week involves a celebration this month, which is how we should a live our lives independently of a Holiday.
May is also ALS Awareness Month, so I thought would be appropriate to talk about a very personal situation that has greatly impacted my life over the past few years, opening my eyes to just how fragile life can be. My mother, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and her symptoms have rapidly progressed, robbing her of her independence and ability to live her life as she envisioned…..
Watching the quality of her life rapidly decline also acted as a catalyst for leaving Corporate America to follow my dreams of launching my own business. There is no guarantee that the sun will shine tomorrow and life is way too short to live complacently! I do not want to ever use the words “What If” to express any regrets.
So what exactly is ALS?? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a terrible neurodegenerative disease that causes the degradation of the nerve cells called motor neurons that control voluntary movements. As ALS progresses, patients begin to lose muscle mass and suffer from weakness or difficulty controlling movements. As time goes on, the symptoms get worse, causing an ever-increasing inability to control movements and speech. In the later stages, ALS causes total paralysis and eventually results in death.
The most unfortunate aspect of ALS is that is does nothing to dull the mind or the senses, so people who suffer from it are trapped like prisoners in their own bodies, unable to move or communicate, but still as mentally sharp as the day they were diagnosed. An estimated 30,000 people in the U.S. are currently suffering from this disease, and most will live only 3-5 years after being diagnosed with it.
You may be more familiar with the name “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” which is another name for ALS that comes from the famous 1930s baseball player who was diagnosed with it. While it was unfortunate that such a great athlete came to suffer from ALS, it did help to bring “more” awareness to a relatively mysterious and little-known disease. Without awareness, doctors would not be receiving the financial support they need to find a cure.
Because it is so poorly understood, there is presently no way to reverse the tide of this debilitating disease. Doctors can use drug therapy and now even stem cells to slow its progression, but inevitably, the symptoms become worse over time, leading to death. Research is KEY to unlocking the mystery behind this disease, therefore, we have become passionate about raising money to benefit 2 charities, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure! The ALS Association www.alsa.org and MDA Night of Hope www.mdanightofhope.com
This past weekend, my family walked in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Charlotte, NC to benefit the ALS Association- Catfish Chapter. Collectively, my family raised almost $23K for the ALS Association and our team, RooRoo’s Rollers, was recognized as the #1 team for raising money. It was an absolutely beautiful morning in Charlotte and smiles were on every face in the crowd! It was quite emotional to see the outpour of love and support for my mother and the other heroes diagnosed with ALS. We are so grateful for our friends and family who donated and came out to walk with us! Should you wish to make a contribution, here is the link. Every little bit helps and gets us one step closer to finding a cure!