To commemorate ALS Awareness Month, MDA will celebrate the stories of 31 individuals affected by ALS. “ALS: Anyone’s Life Story” will feature a different story each day in May on MDA’s ALS-MDA Web site.
The series was inspired by Augie Nieto, who serves as co-chairperson of MDA’s ALS Division, along with his wife, Lynne. Nieto often speaks of how ALS caused him to change his life focus from striving for success to instead working for significance.
Among those featured in the series, you’ll meet Marilyn Cooper, Northridge, Calif., who tells us that after her diagnosis she went back to college and earned a master’s degree in counseling. “I read non-stop and have started a book club that has been going strong for seven years,” she says.
Angelo Sciulli, Lancaster, S. C., received his diagnosis in 1998, but this summer he’s going fly fishing in Colorado. He even found time to publish a book in 2005 about his life with ALS — described through photography trips to places such as Kenya, Ecuador and Newfoundland.
“I’ve always held the opinion that life is lived between one’s ears. Nothing has both challenged and proven this belief more acutely than ALS,” says Robert Harr, Dewitt, Mich. “One’s mind is the wellspring of all action in every aspect of life.”
“ALS has changed me for the better,” says Mary Kay Stillwell, Wichita, Kan. “I’ve gone from being a strong-willed, independent and controlling individual to a strong- willed, appreciative person who delegates jobs.”
Charles Dyer, Jonesboro, Ga., had always loved hunting. He says, “I was never very good at bird hunting until now. Thanks to the way I shake when I hold the gun, my aim covers the whole sky, and the birds don’t stand a chance.”
Having to choose from among many, many stories of strength, humor, perseverance and love wasn’t easy; but it was a reminder that ALS stories are often inspirational.