By Patti O’Reilly
I was diagnosed with ALS in January 2014, at the age of 53.
I was an oncology nurse for 32 years and had just completed my master’s degree in nursing and passed the boards to become a nurse practitioner when I was diagnosed. Being a nurse practitioner had always been a dream of mine, but I was unable to use my master’s degree at all because of ALS.
My husband of 35 years is my primary caregiver. He’s very patient. It’s been difficult for me to accept help because I was always the one providing care. I also have six sons. The youngest was 15 when I was diagnosed.
ALS disrupts the entire circle of life. Every aspect of life is changed. I can’t be the mother, wife, nurse, daughter, sister, and friend I once was. And yet, I’m still here and still hopeful.
I’ve always said, “It takes a village.” I’m fortunate to have a strong village of family, friends, and faith community. That village of support has now been expanded to include all of those in the ALS community, including The ALS Association and fellow patients.
The ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter has provided much assistance in the form of equipment and reimbursement for services.
You are a part of my village, too, you know. Your support provides people living with ALS and families like mine with the local support services and care needed to face this terrible disease.
Please donate to The ALS Association to help give hope to people living with ALS. Your donation will make a real impact!