Throwback Thursday: My ALS Story


It was seventh or eight grade, and we were in Mrs. Clawson’s class. Someone came in and interrupted the lesson and took Mrs. Clawson into the hall. We knew it was something bad. And we were young but we knew what had happened. Mr. Clawson had died. He had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

We were left all alone in the classroom. A group of crazy kids, brought to silence, unsure what to say or do. That’s when someone started it. A round of “____ stole the cookie from the cookie jar”.

In this moment of sadness, we reverted back to younger selves, connected with each other, and tried to push away the shock.

“Val stole the cookie from the cookie jar.” “Not me?” “Yes, you.” “Couldn’t be.” “Then who?” “Allison stole the cookie from the cookie jar…”

And we went around and around until someone came in and told us to be quiet, that we were acting like kids.

But, I knew. It was the only time all of us had come together for anything. Ever. And somehow in that moment of grief, we had bonded and forgotten who was cool and who was ugly and who was a bully and who was picked on. We were there, again as children, grieving in the only way we knew.

And that’s why I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Because I remember that day. I remember the hurt on Mrs. Clawson’s face. I remember the silence of knowing. But most of all, I remember how for one moment in time we all came together and showed each other kindness.

Show kindness by doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nominating friends and family and/or by donating money for ALS research.

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