Maria Swift was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 at age 77. Despite her diagnosis she refused to let the disease hold her back from her active lifestyle and her passion for life. She finished a masters degree in Italian from Central Connecticut State University the following spring. Remarkably, she finished her last semester with an eye-gaze computer because she was immobilized and could not speak or type.
She was singled out at her graduation ceremony by the commencement speaker as the oldest graduate in attendance and received a standing ovation. She was a tough woman who refused to let a disease stand in the way of doing what she loved.
Maria passed away, a short time later, in October of 2015. Her obituary reads “Ricordatei tempi passati insieme” – remember the times we have spent together. These were her words that she “typed” out carefully on her eye-gaze machine a couple of months before she passed. She wanted us to stay positive and focus on the happy memories, even during difficult times. To that point, many of her 10 children and several of her 24 grandchildren are running the Mahoney Sabol 5K to raise money for ALS and celebrate her life.
The race runs through the Cromwell neighborhood where Maria lived for 58 years with her family. Shortly after her diagnosis, in 2014, Maria cheered on several of her children from her wheelchair at the two mile mark, just up the street from her home. No doubt, she will be watching and cheering for her family once again thsi year. Please help and show support by donating in her memory to ALS research and support.
Thank you, and hope to see you at the race.