Last Wednesday, I spent several hours with Mike and Pat Petrohoy at their home. The first thing I noted was the new ramp which Pat and Jessica are sealing to protect it from the weather. Mike’s sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Florida and we were joined by Mike’s Son David, who came on his Harley. We sat on their back deck surrounded by Pat’s tomatoes and flowers. We talked, enjoyed some cupcakes brought over by a neighbor and then shared Holy Communion.
One year ago, Mike was diagnosed with ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His spirits are good. He says he knows God is with him. His desire is to fight this disease by helping to find a treatment or cure. ALS is a life-changing, life shortening disease.
Every 90 minutes a person in this county is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. So don’t waste another moment.
Act for Mike and Pat and Jessica. Continue to keep them in your prayers.
Consider making a pledge for Team Petrohoy. Can you join them as they walk on October 11, 2008? The Petrohoys have formed a team to be part of the "Walk to Defeat ALS" at Lehigh Valley College, Saucon Valley, PA.
Read Jessica’s heart warming appeal . . .Sponsor me in the walk for ALS.
Last summer my Dad, Mike Petrohoy, was diagnosed with ALS, or more commonly known as. Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I can’t quite remember my first reaction to finding out. I think I wasn’t even sure what it meant anyway. I’ve heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease before but I had no idea what it did to the person who had it. I did some research and pretty much all of my findings said that 20% of people with ALS live five years after diagnosis, 10% with live ten years, and 5 % will live 20 years. Moe than half, however, live up to three years after diagnosis. It is a muscle degenerative disease with no cure. In all honesty I think I prepared myself for his death right then and there. His years were numbered. It was like stamping a date on his forehead. The first two or three nights after we found out I cried in bed at night. "Poppy don’t leave me yet, don’t go Poppy." I shut down some of my emotions after that. If I couldn’t feel anything, I definitely couldn’t feel sad and besides I had to be strong anyway. I had already had some ‘life experiences’ of my own to deal with and entering my first year of college, I felt like I had a lot on my plate.
In the early months of 2007, my Mom and I could see that something wasn’t quite right with Dad. We began noticing some twitching in his bicep muscles and his weight starting to drop. By summer he had lost 90 pounds in a year. He lost some strength in his left leg and one time at work at Wal-mart it actually went totally limp and numb. Dad began going to neurological doctors and having test after test to find out what was wrong. I really thought that he embellished or even made up some of his symptoms. I thought that he felt he wasn’t getting enough attention so things had to start going wrong with him in order to get it. Maybe I was just in denial? Even after we had a first opinion we needed a second and a third and more tests to confirm it couldn’t be anything else. It was clear however, that he had ALS. Now that we had the diagnosis, he seemed more at rest, knowing that he wasn’t losing his mind and there was actually a name for what was happening to his body. The next step was to alter our lives in order to adjust to the changes that were happening to him.
It is now the beginning of the summer of 2008. I finished my first year of college and I plan on working as much as possible to have money in savings. Dad recently got his motorized wheelchair, which we applied for in January. We are waiting on a ramp to get the wheelchair into the house. Currently it stays in my Mom’s Jeep while Dad isn’t using it at Wal-mart where he still works. I’ve learned to accept his condition now. Everything in life happens for a reason. That reason isn’t always apparent at first though. At our last ALS group meeting a girl showed up whose Father was recently diagnosed with ALS. When it came her turn to talk she fell immediately into tears. At that moment I realized the impact Dad’s condition had on me. After those first few nights of tears I stopped crying about it. It was so much to handle at the time that I ignored it. Looking back, I didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. I am thankful that I am now able to talk about it with other people. Going to the ALS group meetings has helped me grow and learn.
According to the ALS website:
It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually. More people die every year of ALS than of Huntington’s disease or multiple sclerosis and it occurs two-thirds as frequently as multiple sclerosis.
Approximately 5.600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS (two per 100,000 people) is five times higher than Huntington’s disease and about equal to multiple sclerosis. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given times.
ALS continues to sit back burner to most diseases. Hopefully with spreading knowledge to other people, they will some day find a cure or treatment for this devastating illness. I hope I have inspired you to help the cause for ALS. Our family has decided to help by joining the "Walk to Defeat ALS." If you want to help, you can walk too! Donations are also accepted and appreciated. Please keep our family and the families affected by this disease in your prayers. Knowledge is the first step to finding a cure. Tell your friends and family about ALS.
Link here to find "Team Petrohoy’s" Page for the October 11th "Walk to Defeat ALS"http://www.alsphiladelphia.org
Labels: "Walk to Defeat ALS", ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease