January 18, 2007 was the day my grandmother passed away from ALS.
It was one of the hardest days of my life; and to be honest, it still is year after year. This day is not only a painful reminder that Bema is no longer here with us, it’s a reminder that there still isn’t a cure for this terrible disease. That more people are suffering day in and day out, and there’s almost nothing that their loved ones can do to save them.
Growing up, my grandparents lived right up the street from me. It was the BEST – Sunday dinners, holidays, birthdays, and summers full of playing cards & ice cream sandwiches. They became like a second set of parents for me and my siblings; always there when you need a hug, some advice, or a plate full of pasta 🙂
Bema was one of those grandmothers that solved every problem with food. Oh you stubbed your toe? I’ll make you something! Your stomach hurts? I’ll make you something! You just ate a full dinner? I’ll still make you something! She had the biggest heart. She was always thinking of us and doing everything she could to make us happy. So you can see why it was incredibly disheartening to realize that in her time of need, we couldn’t return the favor.
Dealing with the death of a loved one at any age is difficult, but when you’re exposed to it at such a young age, it can have a serious impact on your life. You realize that life really is too damn short and you have to make the most of your time here.
That’s why me and my family created Team Bema, a way for us to honor her life, her fight, and make a difference in the lives of other ALS patients that are still fighting. We knew first-hand how much treatment and medical equipment cost, how difficult and frankly how depressing it was to watch someone slowly lose control of their body and endure this disease. We wanted to help those families that went through the same thing we did back in 2007.
From that year on, Team Bema has been at every Walk to Defeat ALS no matter where we were – Syracuse, Rochester, Boston, anywhere we could show our support. We’ve walked in sunshine, pouring rain, insane winds, but thankfully no snow! We’ve done Ice Bucket Challenges, volunteer work, and pretty soon I’ll be picking up the pace by running to defeat ALS in the Boston Marathon.
But even though these past 11 years have been tough, I can’t help but look back and smile thinking of our family and friends that have supported us and the ALS Association through it all. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us give back to those in need. It means more to us than we could ever put into words ❤
Check out my Crowdrise page to donate to my campaign & support the ALS Association: http://bit.ly/BostonBeginnings262