Supporting families on the ALS journey
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Several years ago, we shared the story of Johnny and Charlene McDonald. They were making the best of the time they had left since Charlene had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
When that story aired, the family of Jackie Shaw, who suffered from the same diagnosis, reached out to form a support group to find other families coping with ALS, including the McDonalds, so they could all learn from each other and find ways to make that difficult journey a little easier.
With that, the West Texas ALS Support Group was born.
Amanda Stevens, Executive Director of the West Texas ALS Support Group said, “A lot of times when people are diagnosed, they are still working. They’re still running marathons. They’re very active. A lot of times they’re in their 40s or 50s. And within about the first six months, they lose the ability to speak. They lose the ability to swallow. After that, it progresses into losing the ability to walk and to hold things.”
Amanda is also a Speech Pathologist. In the nearly 3 years of this support group, she says they have worked to come with up fundraisers to help the dozens of area families affected by ALS. Eventually, they all need specialized equipment for a limited time to preserve their mobility and to keep them communicating with loved ones through a computer with amazing eye-gazing technology.
She says, “We’ve got local individuals who help to collect that equipment, clean it up and get it back out to more families.”
On November 5th, the ALS Gala is planned at the Prima Vista Event Center with dinner at 6:00 and the Gary Nix Band performing at 7:30. There will be items up for silent auction, raffles, and door prizes listed below. Tickets are $50 or $35 without the meal. Tickets can be purchased at the door to enjoy the band and bid on auction items. Tickets for the meal need to be purchased in advance and can be purchased here.
Amanda says all the money will stay here to help support area families with ALS.
She says, “Just to be able to provide this kind of support to patients who are in dire need of education, support and whether that’s mental, emotional, physical, financial, whatever we can do to help kind of ease the burden of this journey.”
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