If you have ever spent any time in the Student Union or Campus Ministry, you may have seen or talked to her.
She’s a little lady with a gleeful smile that lights up any room she may walk into. She has a presence about her of strength and determination.
She has always been ready to put someone else’s needs before her own.
Who is this mystery woman, you may be asking yourselves? She is my mom, Nell Hardy, and she manages all of this and her job at Campus Ministry, even while carrying the life-threatening burden of the disease ALS on her shoulders.
ALS is a horrible disease affecting hundreds of thousands of people around the country for which there is no cure.
The disease ruthlessly shuts down the body part by part, leading the victim down a long and painful road to their demise.
My mom was diagnosed with this disease in May 2009. This uncomfortable reality has certainly settled in with my mom, but the steadfast optimist in her keeps chugging along as if nothing was wrong.
She still works reliably five days a week at the Student Union and takes a writing class here, even after being forced to reduce her schedule to part-time hours because of the toll on her body.
Though currently without a cure for this deadly disease, there is still hope of a better future for ALS victims such as my mom.
The beginning of May marks the start of National ALS Awareness Month, a month-long effort aimed at increasing public understanding of ALS disease.
My family, in order to donate our time and effort to this noteworthy cause, is taking part in a Walk to Defeat ALS on May 15 in New York City.
We will be walking three miles through Manhattan with hundreds of other people whose lives have also been afflicted by ALS.
This is my invitation to all of you to show your awareness of this horrible disease and its victims such as my mom, Nell.
Showing your support for our team, the “Friends of Nell,” is as easy as visiting the Web site, http://web.alsa.org/goto/friends_of_nell, and clicking the ‘Join Team’ button at the bottom of the page.
This simple action will help us to both raise funds that will go toward research of this horrible disease, and help to rid the tragedy of ALS from my mom’s life and from hundreds of thousands of others.
You can also just stop in to Campus Ministry and say hello, she would love the company.
My mom is hard to miss. She’ll be the one behind the desk with the welcoming smile.