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Jason Ratliff

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jason ratliff

THE STORY:

Friends, family, runners, ALS haters, et al. -

Thank you very much for taking the time to visit this page.

As you probably know, my mom, Nancy, was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), aka Lou Gehrig's Disease, several years ago -- in July 2009.

My family and I knew at the time that we were in for a challenge, but we never could have predicted the extent to which our lives would be dominated by this cruel disease. The details are below, but I couldn't possibly expect everyone to read them, so I'll give you the short(er) version here and hope that you'll help me in raising funds for The Nancy Ratliff Medical Fund and The ALS Association.

The short(er) version:

ALS really, really, really sucks.

My mom has been completely paralyzed for a couple years now and has lost the ability eat, drink and breathe on her own. And she has gradually lost the ability to communicate, even on the most basic level.

My dad lost his insurance that covered in-home nursing care, which led to him losing his job. He had been caring for my mom from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. every single day and paying out of pocket for nurses to cover from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. -- until his nursing funds ran out, and now he is taking care of my mom 24 hours a day. He has been out of the house for more than a few consecutive hours exactly one time in the past three years.

Because my mom is reliant on a ventilator to breathe and a feeding tube to eat, she needs round-the-clock medical care. We've been able to offset some of the medical costs with donations and proceeds from previous Kimmswick 5K races, but it’s not nearly enough to cover them all. The Nancy Ratliff Medical Fund helps to relieve my mom's caregivers (primarily my dad), who, when they aren’t able to watch my mom, must be replaced by skilled nurses who understand my mom's medical needs and can manage complicated life-supporting machinery on their own.

Additionally, any tax-deductible donations you make will be shared with the St. Louis branch of The ALS Association, a founding sponsor of the Kimmswick 5K and long-time supporter of the Ratliff family. The ALSA serves a priceless mission to help fund ALS research, provide patient and community services, spread public awareness and advocate for people with ALS.

Any amount you can donate would be greatly appreciated by my family and The ALS Association of St. Louis.

Thank you,
Jason


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The longer version:

ALS really, really, really sucks.

My mom first lost function of her hands and arms, then her legs and throat, leaving her unable to eat, drink or speak. We read her lips until she could no longer move her mouth enough to form words. We held up cards with the alphabet printed on them, pointing at letter after letter, asking her to look up when we pointed to the correct letter -- a process that could take hours to spell something as simple as what she wanted to get my dad for their anniversary. A computer that she could operate with her eyes was quickly rendered useless when she lost the ability to move her eyes for more than a few minutes at a time. And finally, her last vestige of communication faltered when she lost the ability to even keep her eyelids open in order to "look up for yes" -- a request she has heard thousands of times over the past couple years.

I've watched my dad spend nearly every waking hour of the past four years taking care of my mom. He's done things you would expect any husband to do for his wife -- feeding her, talking to her, praying with her, encouraging her, admiring her and praising her -- and he's done things that no husband should have to do for his wife -- most too personal or humiliating to mention.

I watched as my dad's company changed insurance providers, and the new one would not cover the in-home nursing care that had afforded him 12 hours a day of respite from caring for my mom. I watched as he was laid off because he could no longer do his job while taking care of my mom every single day. I watched as Medicare refused to provide in-home nursing care on the basis that my mom didn't show any signs of improvement. I watched as Medicare continued to refuse to cover in-home care even after a class-action lawsuit revealed that it couldn't refuse coverage on their previously stated basis for not doing so.

I've watched my dad do the job of nurses and paramedics who have spent years, if not decades, learning and crafting their life-saving skills. I've watched him resuscitate my mom from the brink of a harrowing, frightening death dozens of times, as her oxygen saturation has plummeted, her eyes widening with fear and panic, while she is 100% reliant on my dad to save her by determining the problem and fixing it -- whether it's a malfunctioning ventilator, a mucus plug or otherwise.

I've watched my sister, a middle school math teacher in Tennessee, spend her entire summer vacation in Missouri, away from her husband and children, taking care of our mom in order to give my dad a much-needed break. And I've watched my wonderful partner Christine spend months at a time -- for over three years -- alone in New York, selflessly sacrificing our time together so I can be back home to spend time with my mom and help out however I can. I've watched as my 80+-year-old grandparents have made countless drives from Arkansas to help take care of their daughter and afford some rest for their son-in-law.

Because my mom is reliant on a ventilator to breathe and a feeding tube to eat, she needs round-the-clock medical care. We've been able to offset some of the medical costs with donations and proceeds from previous Kimmswick 5K races, but it’s not nearly enough to cover them all. The Nancy Ratliff Medical Fund helps to relieve my mom's caregivers (primarily my dad), who, when they aren’t able to watch my mom, must be replaced by skilled nurses who understand my mom's medical needs and can manage complicated life-supporting machinery on their own.

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To This Fundraiser

$4,455

MONEY RAISED
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  • The Stanns

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $200

  • John Schlegel

    $25

  • Bryan Horowitz

    $100

  • Jim Schachterle and Leah Hoxie

    $50

  • Vincent Lake

    $80

  • Paul Stevens

    $25

  • Arva

    $100

  • Anonymous

     

  • Andy Wormser

    $100

  • Arva's family

    $1,000

  • Matt Y

    $20

  • K and F

    $45

  • Christina R.

    $100

  • Cissell Family

    $50

  • Jamie Perkins

    $20

  • Sarah Kramer

    $50

  • Erc & Mandy Levings

    $100

  • Mark and David Davis

    $100

  • Chet & Amy Nine

    $100

  • Butter

    $100

  • Josh Rogers

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $100

  • ISSCO, INC.

    $125

  • Colin Leach

    $100

  • Gur and Amie

    $75

  • Brooke and Derek Fishel

    $100

  • Trips & Ravi

    $200

  • Patty Long

    $50

  • Scott Stallman

    $200

  • O'Hara family

    $100

  • MH

    $50

  • Bob and Marie Stallman

    $100

  • Anonymous

    $20

  • Houston Summers

    $100

  • Matt Y

     

  • Deepti and Anand

    $50

  • Ryan Kirk

    $200

  • Amy Edwards

    $100

  • Lauren

    $20

  • Tania & Pat Woodlock

    $50

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89% Raised of $5,000 Goal

Fundraise for this Campaign

The Team: $4,455 TOTAL RAISED SO FAR

JOIN THE TEAM
Fundraiser Title

jason ratliff

Amount Raised

$4,355

 

87% Raised of $5,000 Goal

Fundraiser Title

Jake Davis

Amount Raised

$100

Donor Comments

Tania & Pat Woodlock

Tania & Pat Woodlock

DONATION: $50

4 years ago

Lauren

Lauren

DONATION: $20

5 years ago

Amy Edwards

Amy Edwards

DONATION: $100

Jason, sorry to have missed the race this year! The pics are great and it looks like it was a blast! Take Care - Amy Edwards 5 years ago

Ryan Kirk

Ryan Kirk

DONATION: $200

5 years ago

Deepti and Anand

Deepti and Anand

DONATION: $50

5 years ago

Matt Y

Matt Y

5 years ago

Houston Summers

Houston Summers

DONATION: $100

5 years ago

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

DONATION: $20

5 years ago

Bob and Marie Stallman

Bob and Marie Stallman

DONATION: $100

5 years ago

MH

MH

DONATION: $50

5 years ago