Bill Groom, Team Challenge ALS Champion
Sharon Johnson and her husband Bill, at a friend's daughter's wedding in June
2014. Although I knew Bill was a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, I did
not know, until that evening, that Sharon had been diagnosed with ALS in March of
2013. That evening had an incredible
impact on me.
talked for nearly 90 minutes; I was totally oblivious to the wedding
festivities happening around us. As I listened, learned and observed, it
was incredible to see how much inner strength Sharon had. This beautiful,
vibrant, intelligent woman's life, and that of her entire family, had been
turned upside down. She was fighting her best to maintain a lifestyle of
her choosing, rather than accepting that which ALS dictates, all the while
knowing the enormity of the challenge ahead. I also observed Bill tending
to Sharon's needs, since she was now confined to a wheelchair. He was
personable, strong and stoic. I could only imagine how much their lives
had changed in the last 18 months. I also could not help but think - the
"script" given to them could be handed to any of us.
I felt terrible about their situation, I also knew that feelings alone, without
action, were not helpful to anyone. I
decided then to take action and take an active role in the Ride to Defeat ALS. In doing so, I felt I could do something to
positively impact the lives of Sharon and Bill, as well as other dear friends
of mine who lost their daughter to ALS five years ago. Participating in, and fundraising for, the
Ride to Defeat ALS has allowed me to transform my love for cycling into a way that
directly helps people with ALS and their caregivers. I am eager to recruit more and more riders to join
our team and I am proud to have involved Merrill Lynch as a corporate sponsor.
are around us all the time. I feel grateful that I embraced the opportunity at
that wedding. It made me realize that I
can make a difference, now, in the lives of families across Florida.
REGISTER HERE to join our challenge today! #TeamChallengeALS
Lindsay Roland, Team Challenge ALS Champion
dad, Jim, was diagnosed with ALS in August 2014. His symptoms started
with a twitch in his arm and after about a full year meeting with several
neurologists they ruled out every other possibility to determine it was
Nearly a month before his diagnosis we had a big family trip booked to Europe.
We weren't sure what was next for my dad, but as we left to head out
overseas with this pending diagnosis looming over our motto for the trip was
"Carpe Diem" or "Seize the day"! Looking back, this
was one of the best times I’ve had with my family and we certainly lived life
to the fullest on that trip.
Now that it has been almost two years since my dad was diagnosed this motto
still seems to hold true. ALS is a tough disease and the most difficult
part is the unknown road ahead. Fortunately the disease has progressed at
a slower pace for my dad and the biggest area affected at this time are his
arms, although he does still have limited use of them. I have been very
proud to watch my dad’s fight. He decided early on that this disease will not
stop him. My mom and dad are constantly sharing stories with us about
difficulties they’ve run into with the disease, but the best part is, more times
than not, the story ends in a laugh. They try not to take things too seriously
and just live one day at a time.
After the diagnosis I reached out to the ALS organization to learn about the
opportunities available to join the fight against ALS. I participated in
the Walk to Defeat ALS first and then was drawn to the Ride To Defeat ALS as I
enjoy new challenges and endurance events. I have been a runner for
several years, but riding is new for me. Last year I completed the 5k and the
25 mile ride. This year my goal is the 5k and the 62 mile ride!
Being a part of such wonderful events has enabled me to feel like I can
do my part to fight for some of those who can’t. I’m thankful my family
has had such wonderful support from the ALS Association and that’s all possible
because of events like these. Please join me in the fight today and
REGISTER HERE! #TeamChallengeALS