Mary & Woody

My name is Mary, and I have been married to my husband, Woody, for 50 years! We met in our church’s youth group many years ago and have been blessed with two children and six grandchildren.

When we moved to Arizona in 2009, we stayed busy by completing minor renovations on our dream home, being grandma and grandpa to our two newest grandchildren, and spending time with our daughter’s family when they would visit from Montana. During one of their visits, I kept walking out of the flip flop on my right foot. I didn’t pay much attention at the time and just chalked it up to the daily abuse my feet endured.

During that same period, my husband began having trouble walking and would fall for no reason. Visits to our family doctor and a neurologist brought no answers for nearly two years, and I resorted to pushing him in a wheelchair and driving the vehicle even though I was experiencing my first symptoms of ALS. In October 2015, I began getting very tired at work and tripped a few times for no reason. One of my falls resulted in bruised ribs, a broken elbow and two black eyes. I was ready for Halloween that year and had the scary face to prove it!

After recovering from the fall, I put off a physical until July 2016. Because of the foot dragging and increasing fatigue, my doctor referred me to a neurologist. I figured the symptoms were the result of a mild stroke and that a few pills or visits to the doctor would cure everything. Multiple tests over the next few months revealed something much more serious, however, and on November 23, 2016 I was officially diagnosed with ALS. Woody and I just held each other and cried when we received the news. I had been taking care of him… Now what were we supposed to do? A few months after my diagnosis, we received answers about Woody’s illness. A successful surgery meant he was able to walk and drive on his own again.

Living with ALS certainly has its challenges, but I know this earth isn’t my final home. I know I’m a child of God, that heaven is my final home, and that one day I’ll walk on streets of gold. Until that time, I want this part of my life to matter, too. I’ve shared my story at church, I’ve advocated for ALS patients in DC, and I’ve participated in drug trials for ALS research. I want others to know that I have peace and joy in this life because Jesus Christ is my personal savior.

Tossin’ Away ALS helped us visit our family back in Indiana in 2019. I love my family and it was so nice to see them again. To all of you who support this wonderful organization, thank you for making that possible! Because I want this part of my life to matter, I’ve decided to, “Smile and Embrace the Day!”

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