MDA Pays Tribute to Family Caregivers

by ALSN Staff on Tue, 2011-11-01 10:00
Caregiver Carol Ross with her husband Carl
Article Highlights:
  • To commemorate National Family Caregivers Month in November, MDA will offer a special interactive website at to honor and thank caregivers.
  • The site will feature profiles of people across the country who are caring for people with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases.

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, MDA is shining a light on family caregivers across the nation, via a special interactive caregivers’ website, MDA Salutes Caregivers.

The site, which goes live November 1, will feature profiles of people across America who are caring for individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and other neuromuscular diseases. The quotes below are from those profiles.

You may be out of energy and discouraged, but you dig deep inside and keep going. Caregiving is an action word.

I am his arms, legs, social director, medication provider and voice.

I have learned that no matter how tired I am, he is more tired. He's my dad. I would do anything for him.

On the website, Meet a Caregiver will introduce you to Carol Ross, 55, of Albuquerque, N.M., a real estate broker and property manager who’s up by 5 each morning getting her husband of 31 years, Carl, ready for his day.

She talks not only of the importance of looking after Carl’s obvious needs due to ALS, but also of her own. “I realized I couldn’t take care of Carl if I was a mess,” she says.

You’ll also meet Kelly Ragan, 43, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who is the primary caregiver for her husband Andrew, who received an ALS diagnosis five years ago.

The former special education teacher faces the daily challenge of balancing caring for her husband with raising two elementary-school-aged boys. She is truly grateful for her “amazing network of friends” that is there for her both emotionally and to help with Andrew’s care. She urges other caregivers, “Do not go on this journey alone. Find a support group or an ALS forum online.”

Also profiled is Jane Pease, 74, of Gray, Maine, who cares for Eugene Stuart, 80, a lifelong bachelor. Pease and Stuart were friends in college and became reacquainted at their 40th class reunion. When he received his ALS diagnosis, Pease resolved to help see her friend through this difficult time. She arrives every morning at Stuart’s home and proceeds through a variety of tasks, from medications to laundry to letter writing.

“It’s amazing to be in the company of Gene and others who have such brave spirits when every part of the body is giving up,” Pease says. “I feel honored to be an important part of Gene’s journey.”

Other features of MDA Salutes Caregivers

The interactive site offers opportunities to thank the caregivers in your life through e-cards, Salute a Caregiver (online testimonials) and Donate in Honor of a Caregiver.

The website also will include an extensive resource list containing direct links to caregiver-related information, as well MDA publications, and articles from the MDA/ALS Newsmagazine and Quest.

ALSN Staff
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