03-02-2008, 08:49 AM
good morning america
I forwarding this announcement from my friend Jeff Lester.
Okay everyone here's our chance to prove the ALS community's
strength! My essay about Lisa along with the nine other finalists
have been posted online and you can vote for your favorite! Lisa
Lester is my wife and go to the following to vote and be sure to pass
this along to everyone you know!!! The website is:
Your friend in the fight,
Jeff Lester (ragingbear); 41, married w/ 3 daughters (all born AFTER
Dx'd 10/93 and on vent since 12/97
You too can have a fulfilling life by learning to LIVE with ALS!!!
FAITH NOT FEAR
NEVER GIVE UP
DON'T FORGET TO LIVE
03-02-2008, 09:01 AM
Just 15 years ago, Lisa was faced with a tough decision. Her boyfriend Jeff was diagnosed with ALS and was told to plan for his funeral. In his story, Jeff wrote that although he was given just two years to live, Lisa decided to stand by him and they were married a year later. Jeff and Lisa were determined to live a normal life and began a family. Despite a bleak diagnosis, with Lisa’s care, Jeff has thrived. Now, 15 years after his diagnosis, Jeff and Lisa have two children and Jeff is attending his second semester of graduate school, and he credits Lisa’s support and care over the years.
"The Life We Built Together"
January 13, 2008 I want to nominate my wife, Lisa, on account of her incredible love and support for me and our family that was created despite some extremely severe physical limitations developing for me and dire predictions for my future life by the doctors involved in my care. We have overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles to create a beautiful and relatively normal family life mainly as a result of the fantastic dedication and strength of my wife. You see in 1993 at age 26, I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and basically told to go home and plan my funeral, since I only had 2 to 5 years to live. Despite this bleak prediction for my future, my then girlfriend not only stuck by my side when many people are abandoned by their significant other but she went a step further by becoming my partner in fighting this disease. She said at the time, "I don't care if we have a month, a year or years together, but as long as you are here I will be by your side because I love you with all my heart and soul." We were married one year, nearly to the day, after I was diagnosed thus taking the anniversary of the worst time in my life and making it one of the best! Together we decided to live our lives as normally as possible and to take on each challenge my disease presented and minimize its effect on our lives. Part of normal meant starting a family of our own so in May 1995 our oldest daughter, Kelsey, was born. In December 1997 we faced the biggest challenge of my disease when my breathing deteriorated to the point I had to get a trach and depend on a ventilator to breath, which virtually rendered me a quadriplegic. Again despite dire predictions from the medical professionals, I was back home in 2 weeks living a fairly normal life mainly on account of the dedication and strength of Lisa. Since ALS had pretty much done it's worst to me, our lives started to become more stable and normalized to the point that in July 2002 our family expanded with the birth of our daughter, Emily, and it expanded again in April 2005 with the birth of our daughter, Jordan. When I began my journey with ALS, I genuinely believed the best times of my life were behind me but little did I know that with the love of an incredible woman that the best times were ahead of me. Since being diagnosed, I not only have become a husband and father but also a published writer, mentor of other people learning to live with ALS, better friend and a better man than I ever could have been if not for the love and support of my amazing wife, Lisa. Today, nearly fifteen years after being diagnosed and more than ten years on the ventilator, I am in my second semester of graduate school at the University of Michigan â€" Dearborn where I am pursuing a M.B.A. degree and Masters in Finance degree. I can honestly state that I have an extremely happy and fulfilling life because of my wife and further that without my wife, I would not even be on this earth today! While I have benefited greatly from the love and support of Lisa, she has paid a steep price to give me/our family this same love and support. First, she dropped out of college with only a few hours left for graduation to take care of me. Second, her student loans have grown exponentially since she has not been able to work to care for me and my condition limits our financial resources. Third, she has no time for herself due to my care and the care of our daughters on account of my severe physical limitations as well as obstacles and lack of assistance mainly from the government despite the fact that she has saved them over a million dollars by keeping me out of a nursing home. Finally, she has given up her dream of owning a home of her own again in consequence of the financial limitations brought on by MY disease. Don't misconstrue why I am telling you about these sacrifices because Lisa never complains about them rather she is too busy taking care of me and our family to realize what a great personal sacrifice she is making. I understand and have total respect for anyone taking on the crucial role of caregiver but what makes my wife's role as a caregiver and the unbelievable life we have built together is that what we have accomplished is unique, in large part on account of Lisa, even among a exceptional and extremely special group of people that are called caregivers. Lisa has truly been a heaven sent angel in my life and the story of the love she has shown me and the family we have made together rivals any of the greatest love stories that have been glorified in books and film only more so since Lisa's love for me and our family is all about her selfless giving and love. Please help show her how extraordinary her gift of caregiving and love is a special and rare gift that should be recognized and exalted by making her your honoree.
Missouri Story http://www.forallthewaysyoucare.com/finalists/
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