June 6 - Gail Rauw

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Today we are featuring the inspiring story of Gail Rauw on day 6 of of ALS Awareness Month.

My name is Gail and this is how my story about living with ALS started. I first noticed slurred speech in the fall of 2017. I kept hoping it would disappear but it slowly progressed until I decided to take it up with my GP in June 2018. By July 20, 2018 I was told that I definitely “met the criteria for a diagnosis of ALS”. On an ironic note, I spent 30 years in a research laboratory at the U of A studying brain neurochemistry so I knew exactly where I was headed. With the support of my family, we started to roll with the punches and get on with living. We hurried up and did some travelling while I was still mobile with trips to Japan and California in 2018. In March of this year my two daughters organized a surprise trip to Maui for a vow renewal. Maui has always been one of my favourite holiday destinations and my family often heard me say that I would like to renew my vows on the beach. Twenty nine family and friends travelled to Maui for the special day. We made some great memories. My family and friends have been most supportive. My husband drives me to my Radicava infusions (although I can still drive myself). He has worked the casino fundraiser and will be doing the Edmonton Walk to End ALS with my daughter and granddaughter. My other daughter comes from Victoria for every clinic visit. For her 6th birthday party, my granddaughter asked for donations to the ALS Society instead of birthday presents. and raised over $600! I am fortunate to have the ALS clinic at the U of A. With the help of their speech pathologist and ICAN at the Glenrose, I have banked my speech as well as done some message banking for the future. The ALS Society downloaded the speech app I need to my iPad and I am ready to go when my voice is gone. The ALS Society is a blessing! They have helped me navigate the brutal waters of an ALS diagnosis and focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t!