What if, you woke up this morning and many of the things you have been looking forward to your whole life were now, for reasons beyond your control, totally not going to happen in your lifetime, things like retiring from your job, attending your son's college graduation or one day walking your daughter down the isle at her wedding.
My good friend Cliff Joyner had such a day just a few short years ago. It all started with a misstep going down a set of stairs which lead to another and later another still. These missteps lead to a visit to the family doctor and on to a referral to a specialist, which lead to ...a diagnosis...with a new world of new realities.
Cliff learned he had ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure.
Cliff walked with a cane to attend my son's high school graduation party in the spring, was in a wheelchair the following Christmas and laid to rest the following spring.
The answer is, they do not face it alone. They face it with with family, friends and by connecting with others who are facing the same unmovable wall.
Cliff's family turned to the Joe Martin ALS Foundation in Charlotte for connection to other families, skilled counseling, nursing, physically therapy and use of equipment like a large van with a wheelchair lift and a driver to make his doctor appointments. All of these resources were provided at no cost to Cliff's family.
This is a photo of Cliff Joyner receiving therapy services from Joe Martin ALS Foundation.
This week, as we wake up to our busy lives with new challenges at our jobs, endless list of kids soccer matches or dance recitals, take just a few minutes to imagine what it will be like for you, your family member, co-worker or neighbor waking up to a new world with a the new realities of a diagnosis of ALS.
Come join us at Park Road Park at Shelter #2 from 5 to 8 pm for BBQ slow roasted over a wood fire and served with sauce, baked beans, coleslaw, hot dogs and other fixings. The plates of food will be free and you are welcome to donate online or at the donation table at the picnic.
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