Let me share with you why there is hope in front of me. After being diagnosed with ALS in November 2012, yes, I do believe there is hope.
Hope although the day may soon come when I can no longer use my legs.
Hope although I may become paralyzed and totally dependent on others.
Hope although life expectancy is two to five years after diagnosis.
Life sure is different now. My decisions used to be "which route do I want to run today?" to now "how am I going to make it up and down the grocery aisle at Harris Teeter?" From "How long do I want to work out on the elliptical today?" to "how can I climb these steps to tuck my daughter Ashleigh into bed?"
My husband Bob and I made the decision that it was time for me to leave work and my 28-year career. There are now decisions on mobility devices and insurance. There are decisions on feeding tubes and breathing tubes.
My decisions are to live stress-free, to be a positive influence and to be a fighter. I am determined to be a powerful advocate, a dedicated fundraiser and a strong voice. In the last two years, teams I have been a part of have raised over $100,000 for patient care, advocacy and research. It is my desire, my passion, my calling.
I have an exceptional husband, daughter, parents, family and friends. I truly have lived life to the fullest. I have been skydiving in Vegas, scuba diving in Hawaii, navigated a yacht, flown an airplane, danced on stages in front of a thousand people and traveled the world. THEN, I was diagnosed with ALS. My life was amazing and IT STILL IS. It's near perfect, wonderful and full of hope.
I am participating in a trial at the ALS clinic in Charlotte. In five more months, it may be determined that a new medicine, coupled with the only current medicine for pALS (people living with ALS) may slow progression. I have hope.
I will stand up against this disease and during challenging times if I feel I cannot stand anymore, I will kneel. (Of course, I will need help getting back up.) If ALS does take me from this earth, I have hope in front of me because I will once again be able to walk and run, but then, on streets paved with gold.
To learn more about Kristin McCoy and her journey with ALS, read her story that is currently running as part of MDA's ALS Awareness Month campaign.