Perspectives: Life After Caregiving

By Gregg Ratliff

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PSTD”), soldiers have it. Can caregivers have it too? I am not a licensed psychologist so I can’t say for sure. But I do know I have experienced a lot trauma and stress “living in a war zone” for seven years of day and night caregiving. ALS takes its toll on the entire infantry around it.

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What You Should Know About Planned Giving

The questions in this post are answered by by Jessica Chapman, the National Director of Planned Giving with The ALS Association. She oversees the planned giving department and focuses on donor relations and marketing. Having worked in gift planning since 2009, Jessica enjoys connecting donors and their advisors with gift options that best meet their needs.

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Tips to Beat the Cold for People with ALS

Winter takes a toll on everyone, especially people with ALS who can experience increased muscle cramping and tension as well as a weakened immune system. Here are some tips on how people with ALS can take care of themselves during the cold winter months.

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ALS Reflections from Outgoing Board Chair Dave Van de Riet

At the end of this month,  Dave Van de Riet will complete his term as chair of The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter’s Board of Directors. Over the past six and a half years, Dave’s leadership has been characterized by innovative ideas, strategic thinking and an overwhelming commitment to providing quality care to families facing an ALS diagnosis.  His energy and passion for the mission will be difficult to match, but he leaves us a better organization and on strong footing for the future.

Dave will continue to serve people with ALS and their families locally in his role as the St. Louis Walk to Defeat ALS® Chair; as a member of the fund development, finance and executive committees; and in a national capacity as vice chair of The ALS Association’s Governance Committee and member of the Board of Representatives.

Thank you Dave, for your extraordinary leadership and tireless dedication to our mission and the people we serve.

In this post, Dave reflects on his tenure as Board Chair.

Back in July of 2012, I was honored to become the board chairman of the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter.  I had no idea what kind of journey it would be.  Certainly, I had some idea of the responsibilities, the meetings and the commitment.  I had the pleasure of serving as Vice Chair while watching past Chair Rick Palank ably lead the Board and along with our President/CEO – Maureen Barber Hill – establish a very strong foundation for the stability and success of the Chapter.  What I didn’t know, however, was how much the job could change me.

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Perspectives: On Leaving a Legacy

By Gregg Ratliff

It’s somewhat of a desperate thought to think that we might invest our entire life here on this earth, with all the hardships that we experience and not be remembered for it. And yet, the truth of the matter is that there are very few recognizable names, which get passed down from generation to generation throughout history. Let’s see, there is Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Gregg Ratliff. Beyond that we could probably continue our list for only another minute or two and then the additions to our list would begin to get rather sparse despite the history of millions and millions of people who have inherited this earth before us. Even most of the famous people in history have quickly been forgotten after their time in the sun… “kingdoms come and go” and “dust returns to dust.” I’m sure there are many ALS patients thinking, “I didn’t get to finish all the accomplishments that I planned on achieving and I feel a great disappointment.” That’s totally understandable! But, having observed my wife’s and other friends’ lives with ALS, I can tell you my ALS friends you INSPIRE us to new levels in our lives! Some of you write books with your eyes, some climb mountains, some attend social events in a wheelchair, events like; operas, concerts, weddings and graduations. Most of you courageous men and women retain an attitude of hope and optimism that outshines those of us not facing this scourge first hand. Your courage and dignity is an example to all! You don’t give up and you remind us that we must not give up in our trials either!

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Living With ALS: Ken Danridge

Ken Danridge was just 56 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS. Married for 13 years to his wife Amy, Ken is the father of three young children – Blake, Maya and Addison. Ken also served in the U.S. Air force for nearly 20 years and was stationed in Oklahoma City during the terrorist bombing in 1995. With the muscles in his body progressively weakening, Ken now uses a motorized wheelchair to get around, a feeding tube to eat, and a ventilator to breathe. Despite the many limitations ALS has imposed on his once active lifestyle, Ken remains a beacon of positivity, intent on using his diagnosis to connect with others with the disease and influence and motivate the people around him. Below, Ken shares his philosophy on living with ALS.

Greetings, my name is Ken and I have ALS. I was officially diagnosed in March of 2017, but I had symptoms for about two years prior to the confirmation. I didn’t really think much about the periodic loss of fine motor skills in my left hand, but when I developed a dropped left foot I became concerned.

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