In August 2014, my mother, Susan Anderson, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 50, just as I was about to enter my senior year of high school. To anyone who knew her, she was the most thoughful and loving person, who spent her career as a teacher and special education assistant. She was known for baking endlessly in the holiday months for all our neighbors and friends, just to make them smile. She enjoyed dinners out with her family at Chile's, where she would always order chicken fajitas. Of all these incredible things that made my mom who she was, I couldn't have imagined my life without her. Little did I know that her battle with ALS would be short - only a year and a half later, she passed away right before my high school graduation.
Since my mom's diagnosis, I decided to take an active role in fundraising and advocating for people with ALS (PALS) and specifically, the children and young adults of PALS. I have spoken internationally about my time as a child caregiver, on behalf of HLC. I understand the difficulty of taking care of a loved one with ALS all while trying to juggle classes and applying to college. This experience motivated me to raise over $85,000 for ALS non-profits, but the most impactful non-profit on my life has been Hope Loves Company (HLC).
As an attendee of numerous Camp HLCs, I have directly benefited from their programs and understand how life-changing they are for other child caregivers who may not know another in a similar situation. I still stay connected with my friends I have met at Camp HLC, even from my first camp six years ago.
I have decided to fully dedicate myself to fundraising and advocating on behalf of HLC for the future, as this non-profit has done everything in its power to help me through the most difficult time of my life. Most excitingly, I recently accepted a position on HLC's Board of Directors and am on the committee to plan this very Virtual 5K.
Your support, both as a participant and fundraiser, mean the world to me. Thank you for helping me to forever keep my mom's beautiful memory alive.