Personal Stories

Refusing to be defined by his ALS, former NFL player Steve Gleason lives a life rich with purpose

posted on April 1, 2014 - 9:29am
In his eight-year NFL career as a safety and special teams standout for the New Orleans Saints, Steve Gleason never had the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. Though Gleason’s not the type to live with regrets, watching his former team win it all in 2009 — just two years removed from his retirement — must have been bittersweet. But this year, during an otherwise lackluster game, Steve Gleason...

Living with diminishing physical ability means losing some independence, but it doesn’t have to mean less adventure

posted on April 1, 2014 - 9:25am
Quest Spring 2014
Kristal Hardin Independence. It is unique to the human experience. People fight for it. Toddlers to teens demand it. It is the way we live. So when a debilitating disease threatens to take away the thing we cherish the most — our independence — most of us channel our inner “Rocky” and refuse to go down without a fight. 

Meet Reagan Imhoff, MDA's 2014 National Goodwill Ambassador

posted on April 1, 2014 - 9:09am
Quest Spring 2014
Most people in the MDA community will recognize 8-year-old Reagan Imhoff right away from her unforgettable butterfly-themed dance performance at the 2012 MDA Show of Strength Telethon.

A strong support system makes it possible for one gifted student with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to pursue his dreams

posted on January 9, 2014 - 9:31am
Quest Winter 2014
Raymond Walter isn’t your typical teenager. Having graduated from high school at age 14 and from college at 18, he’s already knee-deep in his doctoral studies in mathematics and physics as a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Arkansas at age 19. 

My crutches were a source of anxiety about not looking ‘normal,’ until I learned to let go by just holding on to them

posted on January 9, 2014 - 9:27am
Quest Winter 2014
When I fell several months ago and couldn’t get up under my own power, I knew it was time to let go. Or rather, time to finally grab a hold. Christopher Anselmo For the first 26 years of my life, I could walk on my own with confidence. But on that day, as I propped myself up using the bumper of a car and a mailbox, I realized that was no longer the case. 

Taking more than care

posted on January 9, 2014 - 9:23am
Quest Winter 2014
Without the help of my paid caregivers, I can’t get out of bed. I put my life in their hands every day, and that’s why it was such a slap in the face when one of my aides stole my work laptop. It’s been well-documented that individuals with disabilities are victimized by crime, including burglary/theft, at much higher rates than the rest of the population. In fact, we’re often targeted...

The author’s weight loss surgery led her to start an exercise program that provided her with more muscle tone — and a lot of fun

posted on January 9, 2014 - 9:21am
Quest Winter 2014
To exercise or not to exercise? I can almost hear the people reading this article screaming, “NOT!” Truthfully, until about a year ago, I would have been screaming NOT the loudest, the longest and with absolutely no hesitation. Author Danise Armstrong riding her tricycle. Living with CMT

Becca Niebrugge runs to honor her uncle, who fought a brave battle against ALS

posted on January 9, 2014 - 9:05am
Quest Winter 2014
Becca Niebrugge has long been inspired by her uncle Mike Mitchell, who, like Becca’s dad, was an avid long-distance runner. But it was the painful experience of watching ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) abruptly strip her uncle of his ability to run, before ultimately claiming his life in April 2013, that finally compelled Becca to tackle a full marathon herself.