MARILYN HAGERTY: Battle continues against ALSDear Shirley, They are lacing up their walking shoes around Pittsburgh this week. Saturday, your nephew, Bob, and his family will be out taking part in the Walk to Defeat ALS.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
They are lacing up their walking shoes around Pittsburgh this week. Saturday, your nephew, Bob, and his family will be out taking part in the Walk to Defeat ALS.
Bob set a goal of raising $3,500, and he had achieved $2,361 early this week. When he contacts friends and family, he tells them he knows we all get more charity appeals than we can answer, but even a small donation helps.
He is relentless. He calls ALS “the disease that paralyzed my sister.” Known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to speak, swallow and breathe. Life expectancy is 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
Bob takes it personally. In his letter, he tells about Carol being diagnosed last spring with ALS. Less than 18 months later, she is almost totally paralyzed and kept alive by a feeding tube and ventilator.
It is the cruelest disease.
You know all that, Shirley. Every 90 minutes, a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS, and every 90 minutes, another person will lose a battle against the disease.
Meanwhile, Carol lies motionless in a hospital bed in the sunroom of their house on the cattle ranch. She cannot move her head. She can move only one finger.
But she has her mind. She has her eyesight. She has not given up. With Curt at her side, she is battling ALS. It gets harder all the time.
Someday, Shirley, they will find a cause and a cure for ALS. Meanwhile, people like Bob and his family will be walking.
Life goes on. Carol’s three children get on the school bus every morning. Twins Anna and Mariah report to seventh grade in the consolidated school at Merino, while Curtis is a sophomore. They don’t say much. Curt does everything he can to hold the family together in these tough times.
I get out there as often as I can, Shirley. It is what it is, and we cannot change the cruelty of ALS.
Life goes on in spite of sorrow. And this is an exciting time in Grand Forks. The UND Pride of the North marching band was out there performing before, during and after the first Sioux football game in the Alerus Center. Robert Brooks, assistant director of bands, has worked long and hard and brought the band a long way. They have 125 members this fall.
There’s a new escalator in the Alerus that makes it easier for those who shudder at the three long stretches of stairway. The Sioux volleyball team brightened this week by beating the visiting Bison from North Dakota State on Tuesday evening. I went to my first volleyball match Saturday evening and sort of got the hang of it.
I hope all is well with you in Tucson, and I send my love from the west bank of the Red River of the North.
Your sister, Marilyn.
P.S.: You know it’s September when the Thursday Music Club schedules its first meeting. That’s today in United Lutheran Church. And the Woman’s Fund of the Community Foundation is holding a luncheon today at noon with Christopher Kennedy Lawford — actor, author and advocate.
P.P.S.: I see you got some rain in Tucson! It’s been so dry out there; you probably have forgotten what rain is.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or (701) 772-1055.