You CAN Help
As most of you know by now, when I was 8 years old, I watched my Uncle (who lived down the street from me) die. He was 38 years old, and he had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). His muscles wasted away while his mind was unaffected. He became a prisoner in his own body, and eventually his body gave out. He left behind a wife and 3 young children. My Aunt and my cousins carried on, but our family was deeply affected. Together with close friends they started The Les Turner ALS Foundation.
On Sunday, September 15th, my family and I will participate in the Foundation’s annual ALS Walk 4 Life with more than 10,000 people as we come together to raise awareness, hope and money. I am writing to request your support in the form of a donation for our team.
If you know me well, you know that I’m someone who HATES asking for help. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel obligated. But in spite of how uncomfortable it makes me, today I am asking for your help. I need your help because people are dying slow, painful, horrible deaths and those people can’t speak to you for themselves. They are depending on me to speak to you, and you to respond. You see, ALS takes away the patient’s ability to communicate. They can’t write, then they can’t speak. So, I am compelled to continue trying to help them get their message out. They can’t ask for your help, so I have to.
It’s always hard to ask people for money. You have your own family, your own causes and your own issues. I know that. But over the years, as I have met many ALS patients and their families, I have seen their courage and their desperation. ALS is not as well-known as cancer or as well funded as heart disease. When you get ALS, there are limited resources and places to turn, and it is ALWAYS FATAL. It’s a disease of suffering. It’s a disease that slowly kills you while you sit helplessly by, with total awareness of exactly what is happening.
I know many people who have died of ALS. I won’t bore you with a long list of connections. It’s not because I am involved with the Foundation or because I meet them in the course of fundraising. It’s because these people are all around us. Although I hope and pray that this disease never touches your life, I also know that odds are you will know someone who will get it. If you think it can’t happen to you, your friends or your relatives, think again.
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