Gilbert woman with ALS says 'love' has helped her live longer

GILBERT, AZ - Most people have heard of the ALS ice bucket challenge. But how many understand the true impact of the disease?

One Gilbert woman is living with ALS and is doing better than doctors told her she would be.

The first year of marriage can be hard. But for Laura and Jim Cathey they had the added pressure of dealing with her ALS diagnosis.

The couple met back in high school then lost touch.

Laura was a single mom leading an active life with her three sons before she was diagnosed with what's commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

"I bawled my eyes out and I was devastated thinking 'who's going to be here to watch my boys?'"

Her muscles began deteriorating and doctors gave her only two years to live.

That was four years ago. She's since reconnected with Jim and they were married last year. "I kept telling him you can't like me...I have a disease." Jim says he was in love with her no matter what.

"That was the miracle I had been praying for,” she says about her husband.

Perhaps another miracle -- the thousands of ALS ice bucket challenge videos blowing up social media sites bringing awareness to the disease.

Laura says seeing the videos have “lifted my spirits."

It's also brought in big donations.

Taryn Norley with The ALS Association Arizona Chapter says the campaign has raised more than $53 million and “that's about $51 million more than we had last year at this time."

She also says the phones have been ringing off the hook.

"People [are] calling…wanting to volunteer," Norley added.

The disease will eventually take all of Laura’s strength but she's still hopeful support will continue even if the videos don't.

Laura says, "Let's bring awareness...And help them get a better quality of live while they are living."

Laura and her family have set up a GoFundMe account to help buy a wheel-chair accessible van to help her continue her daily routine.

To learn more about volunteering or upcoming events for the ALS Association Arizona Chapter, visit their website .

 

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