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The really important things in life

We have another young woman in our office who at a younger age was a poster child for the March of Dimes. While she struggles with the effects of Spina Bifida, her outward demeanor and winning smile can warm even the coldest hearted person. She is a joy for our staff members who work closely with her and a dedicated hard worker who is committed to be a productive employee. Again she could complain about the unfairness of her condition, but she chooses to not to let it be a hindrance as she goes about living her life and not looking for any special treatment.

I learned a cousin of mine was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the devastating condition known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to the condition termed a “glass coffin.” The mind remains intact, but a person with ALS loses use of his hands, arms and legs, then has trouble swallowing and breathing. Most die from suffocation three to five years after diagnosis. There is no cure nor is there an affective treatment. But instead of complaining or rolling up in a corner he has taken the highest of all possible roads by going public with his condition and establishing a fund through the Pittsburgh Foundation to raise awareness, support and comfort to ALS families and to support research in finding a cure and treatment, knowing neither will come in time to change his fate.

He recently gave a 15-minute overview presentation to the Pittsburgh Foundation that can be see at www.LiveLikeLou.org in which his positive approach to his dealing with the disease shows a remarkably brave man who is making the most of every day he has available to him. Our family is unfortunately spread out across the country and while I don’t know this individual closely, having only been in his company a few brief times in my lifetime, I found viewing this video to be a very humbling and yet extremely empowering experience. The strength of character and demonstration of courage is truly remarkable.

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