For those of you who don’t know about ALS, it’s a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which eventually leads to muscle paralysis. There is no known cure and people with ALS live an average of 2-5 years after diagnosis.
I’ve been involved with the ALS Association for about 10 years now after my grandmother, Mary Verone (“Bema” as we called her) passed away from the disease in 2007. Back then not many people knew what ALS was, let alone what it did to the body. It attacks everyone differently, but for my grandmother it started in her throat making it difficult for her to speak, eat or swallow. She had a feeding tube for majority of her illness and even used a machine that would speak for her.
Although awareness of the ALS Association and advancements in research have come a long way since 2007, we’re far from finished.
Team Challenge ALS is just one of the ways the Association is making a difference in the lives of people living with the disease. It’s an endurance program that challenges people to accomplish physical & fundraising achievements for those who cannot. With all money raised supporting research and care service programs, I was so proud to be part of the Boston Marathon running team helping to create a world without ALS.
A few years ago, I started running as a way to challenge myself and push my body to see what it was capable of. Even with injuries slowing me down and testing my strength along the way, I’ve successfully completed a few 5ks, 10ks, and two half marathons.
I set my sights on the full 26.2 and conquered it after months of hard work and training. This race pushed me and challenged me in ways I never thought possible. But my grandmother was always one of my biggest supporters and was constantly telling me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to…this was for her and she was with me every step of the way!
The ALS Association has truly captured a piece of my heart and I will always be grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those suffering from this disease. It was an incredible and truly unforgettable experience crossing that finish line on April 16th.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support!
The race may be over, but the fight against ALS isn’t. Consider donating to the cause and get one step closer to a world without this terrible disease ❤