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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project ALS

In September of 1978, I had my second child, Kate. At a time that would normally have been such a blessed time, we also finally got the diagnosis for the strange symptoms my mother had been experiencing for several months. After a barrage of tests at Stanford Hospital, they finally came up with a diagnosis of a disease that I had never heard of – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig Disease for the famous baseball player who succumbed to it).

My mother was only 48. The prognosis was dire and we were shocked and devastated. Mom fought the disease valiantly, but it got the best of her in December of 1980. To this day, there is no clear cause and no real treatment.

Fast forward about eight years and our existence in Colorado. We have some wonderful neighbors who moved to this area of Boulder in 1988 - just about the same time we did. Fortunately enough, Jay happens to be an EMT and a horse lover. One one Colorado blizzard night our daughters’ horse Fancy was blinded by the snow, panicked and broke a huge plate glass window, cutting herself badly in the process. I have never seen so much blood and in the white snow, it looked pretty gruesome. We managed to get Fancy into Jay’s care and he was able to save her.

The girls grew up and moved to other areas of the country. Arrangements were made to have Fancy leased by a local girl whose family was supposed to take proper care for her. Alas, they did not and Fancy became severely malnourished. Again, Jay came to the rescue - performing a horse rescue. Fancy moved to Connecticut and lived out her life in comfort in beautiful Wilton.

What does all this have to do with embroidery you ask….

Recently Jay and his wife Judy moved to California. They wanted a lot of new personalized towels for their new home. I was happy they wanted me to do the embroidery, but I did not feel comfortable charging them for my work after all they had done for us. Sooo, I suggested that they make a donation to Project ALS in my mother’s honor. Jay and Judy thought that was a terrific idea and that is what they did.

In case you have been touched by ALS or know someone who has, Project ALS is located in New York City. Their website is, with email at Project ALS is funding every aspect of a gene therapy pilot investigation in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and the Salk Institute. If successful, gene therapy will make a difference for those living with ALS and many other neurological diseases including Alzeimer’s, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

If at this year end, you are looking for a meaningful charity and have even a little disposable income left, this is one to carefully consider.

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