Friday, October 22, 2010

Background about Betty's ALS

Early in 2010 Betty started to notice the first signs of her illness. During the first months of the year, she had several falls and experienced changes in her voice and motor control. By spring, the symptoms has become more noticeable. Her balance was affected and she experienced increasing difficulty moving around and speaking.

The timing of the onset of ALS was very unfortunate. She and Earl had just realized their long-held dream of selling their house in Kingston and building a new home on Bowen Island, BC.  Betty and Earl had only had a few months in their beautiful new house before their attention had to be turned, almost exclusively, to Betty's rapidly deteriorating health.

After a long process of elimination of other potential causes of her symptoms, Betty and Earl were finally given a firm diagnosis in July. The ALS specialists had originally suggested that one to five years was the time frame in which one would expect the ALS to run its course. However, in late August Betty and Earl received the devastating news that six months is likely the best that can be hoped for.

Although very much still herself, intellectually and emotionally, Betty now has many physical challenges to face. One of the symptoms of the ALS is that she has trouble swallowing and can choke very easily, even on her own saliva. She needs help to get dressed and eat. As Earl's work requires him to be away from the house eleven or twelve hours a day, Betty very much needs full-time, at home care.

While the cost of some of this care is covered under the British Colombia health insurance plan, Earl and Betty are now faced with many unexpected costs as a result of the ALS. In order that they can focus on the many challenges presented by the illness, we are joining together to try to alleviate some of the financial burden which their current situation places them under.

If you are in a position to contribute something towards these costs, we encourage you to do so. Betty and Earl were initially reluctant to let us try to organize this donation drive but have agreed that it would certainly let them focus their attention on reorganizing their lives in anticipation of the progression of the ALS. If you are not able to donate at this time, please do not feel any pressure.

Donation amounts will not be revealed unless you ask us to do so. Whether or not you are in a position to make a contribution to our fundraiser, we encourage you all to send Betty your well wishes and love through the guestbook on the "Send Betty a Message" page on this site - or through Facebook. As many of you know, Betty is (as always!) ahead of the pack when it comes to technology and social media. She'd love to hear from you!