On December 5, 2018, Lisa Anderson’s life changed forever as it did for Dennis as well. She was diagnosed with Sporadic Bulbar ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) affecting her speech and swallowing abilities. This debilitating and progressive neurological disease robs a person of their ability to function by attacking nerve motor neurons in the brain, brainstem and spinal cord, which control voluntary muscle movements, including chewing, swallowing, walking, talking and breathing. As the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate, the muscles they control gradually weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). There is no cure for ALS, and the disease is eventually fatal.
As it is with most of us, we really abhor the idea of asking others for help. Why? Because that four letter word rears its ugly head - FEAR. Fear of rejection or perhaps fear of the unknown response we might receive. The flip side of the coin is we all love being able to help someone out in their time of need, always ready and willing to lend a helping hand and help shoulder their heavy burden in whatever way we can. This idea to be Lisa and Dennis’ village by helping them out financially was hatched out of love by Teri Miller; not because they asked for help. They have struggled with letting this process happen, especially in such a public forum. Fortunately, they didn’t let fear win the battle and have allowed us to be their village.
Lisa’s focus, now more than ever should be on living. She shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they can afford a host of necessities while she is fighting to simply swallow, to talk, to put one step in front of the other, to breathe. Lisa will require many things during this phase of her life to improve the functioning and quality of her life: Assistive devices like a wheelchair, bathtub lift, raised toilet seat, removable headrest, medications, a special mattress that can help prevent skin breakdown and muscle and joint pain. She is struggling with breathing and too much phlegm and will need a biPAP for the breathing as well as a suction device to help her with the phlegm. Lisa will most definitely need an electronic assistive speaking device that can be adapted for hand or eye use to allow for her to communicate perhaps much sooner than all had hoped would be the case. Sadly, many of these items health insurance either only covers partially or not at all. This is where the village comes in.
Lisa is a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. Her name means “My God is bountiful.” She remains strong in her faith knowing she is being held in the palm of God’s hands even as she faces the many difficult days ahead as she deals with the loss of her motor functions. Let’s give her the gift of allowing all of her energy to be focused on living by showering her with love by helping her and Dennis defray some of their medical expenses. Please consider making this journey a bit easier for them. Come on village - let’s get behind them and help shoulder some of their burden through this very difficult time. Please share and repost this far and wide. Thank you.