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Letter: Support efforts to cure ALS

In this Aug. 7, 2014, photo, two women

In this Aug. 7, 2014, photo, two women get doused during the ice bucket challenge at Boston's Copley Square to raise funds and awareness for ALS. Credit: AP

August reminds me of the ice bucket challenge that began two years ago to advocate for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [“Ice bucket challenge helps find gene link to ALS,” News, July 28].

Also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS causes certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to die. There is no treatment or cure.

I don’t know how this fatal illness got me. It can strike the healthiest of people and the most active. I fell into both of those categories. I had never been really sick, and never smoked a cigarette, took drugs or smoked pot.

I married, had wonderful twin sons and ultimately divorced my husband. My sons are my world and bring me joy because of their positive can-do attitudes. One evening they watched a show called “George to the Rescue” on NBC. The star does amazing renovations to homes of people in need. My house is a two-story Colonial and wasn’t equipped for my life in a wheelchair. I began using a cane five years ago, then a walker and eventually a wheelchair.

My sons wrote to the show, and we were selected! I had had no access to the yard, as my chair wouldn’t fit out the door. A new wall, door and patio were installed, granting my wish to sit outside. I now have a beautiful bathroom and bedroom on the lower level.

There are thousands like me fighting this disease. I beg the drug companies to take heed and expand their research.

So I ask, please, if you see someone taking the ice bucket challenge, don’t look at it as just a fun thing to do. Please donate generously. We have to obliterate this cruel disease.

Terry Sherwood, Farmingville


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