Kristen St. Pierre via Crowdrise
April 17, 2015
BENEFITING: The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter
ORGANIZER: The ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter
EVENT: 2015 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 20, 2015
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal, neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages 2-5 years from the time of diagnosis. Every 90 minutes, some is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes someone will lose their battle with this disease.
My family was abruptly introduced to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the early nineties when we learned that my grandfather, Raymond St. Pierre, had developed the disease. He was the strong, proud and vibrant patriarch of our rather large family, so it was especially difficult and challenging.
My younger sister, Brooke, and I were only 3 and 4 years old. Our understanding of the disease and the complexities that my grandfather faced, at that time, were incomprehensible to us. We knew him only during his period of sickness yet our memories of him do not reflect that of a man in grief. Everyone he met was touched by his charm and endearing personality. He was a resilient, headstrong yet compassionate man who had a fervent faith and an even tougher will. ALS challenged him mentally and physically in every way imaginable.
Through recollections and stories told over the years I remember my grandfather as being quite “the character” and believe that most people who knew him would agree. However, he should also be remembered as a fighter; he worked so hard his entire life to make a better way for himself and his family. Then, when he was finally ready to retire and relax, he had to fight the toughest struggle of all, ALS. I know that for my father and family it was exceptionally trying to watch him combat this disease as it slowly took away one of the things that was so dear to him, his independence. He fought hard, but lost his battle on Christmas day of 1996.
His resolve and courage is something I attempt to imitate in my own life. Although he is no longer present in the flesh his vivid persona will remain with me through my own time on this earth. He fought courageously in the face of such a horrific disease. It’s with that same spirit and determination that drives me to pursue every opportunity that is granted. While running a marathon is tough, it is not as tough as losing someone you love. I hope to run the Boston Marathon in his honor.
Team ALSMA is a dedicated group of Boston Marathon runners who are raising awareness and funds to benefit the cutting-edge research, vital patient care programs and important advocacy work of the ALS Assn. MA Chapter. Please help me raise money for this more than deserving cause! I look forward to your continuing support and hope to not disappoint on Marathon Monday.