August marks a month-long opportunity to raise awareness and move closer to a world without ALS. Our Every Drop Adds Up campaign builds on the idea that people coming together for a common goal can make the impossible happen, just as it did four summers ago when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge soaked the world. Every person helped, every research project funded, every discovery made, every piece of legislation passed, and every story shared – it all adds up!
Sunny Brous Erasmus is a wife, daughter, “dog mama,” sister, aunt, and friend. She’s like her name – strong, full of life, and a very bright light.
Her mantra is “no apologies, no excuses, no regrets,” which helps explain why she considers Dr. Miranda Bailey (“Grey’s Anatomy”), kind of bossy and always in-charge, her soul sister.
Sunny needs all that moxie to fight ALS. A diagnosis of the disease hit her like a ton of bricks right before her 28th birthday. Dr. Maria Phillip at Texas Neurology in Dallas delivered the shocking news on January 20, 2015.
More than three years later, Sunny is still making the most of each day with her husband, Kenneth, and their chocolate Labrador Retriever, Baloo Bear. They share a home in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sunny has embraced her walking stick, “Phil,” named after Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family,” and her scooter, “Garth,” named after Garth Brooks. She’s on round 12 of Radicava infusions – with she takes through her port, “Paula” – with no obvious signs of additional progression. It’s what she calls a “no news is good news” situation.
Late last year, she was forced to leave her beloved job as director of development and events for a nonprofit, but she and Kenneth have looked on the bright side (pun intended). They’re using what Sunny calls her “retirement” as an opportunity to check things off their bucket lists.
Sunny had a list of 30 things she wanted to do and experience before her 30th birthday. The list took longer to compete than the month she had allocated, but she accomplished some major items, like test-driving a Porsche, throwing out the first pitch as a Texas Rangers game, and being on the cover of a magazine.
She and Kenneth are lucky to have a wonderful support system – a close-knit family, many friends, and the ALS community, including The ALS Association Texas Chapter.
“I tell people all the time that [the ALS community] is the best community I’ve ever been a part of,” Sunny says. “Anybody would jump ship at any time, if given the opportunity, but as long as we’re here, we’re in this together.”
She adds, “It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be from a small town, but it’s easy to see and feel. ALS doesn’t define me, but being from Hico, Texas, does. The support and love that’s so freely given by so many people is all-consuming. I can’t say thank you enough to [the people of] Hico for loving me through this disease.”
Check out Sunny’s story about how ALS impacts her life. We think you’ll find her as inspiring as we do. She’s truly #SunnyStrong.
There are many ways for you to help spread the word and keep the momentum going this month.
Share stories from our community, like this one. (Click one of the “share” buttons below.) Bid on an ALS Auction item. Tell us your own story. Pick up a PopSocket. Host a fundraiser. Make a recurring or one-time donation.
As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge proved, small actions of a few can have a major impact. Or, as we like to put it, Every Drop Adds Up!