Jodi Oliver, diagnosed in May 2013 at age 44.
Died April 2, 2015.

In Fall of 2012, I was in the best shape of my life. I enjoyed the spin classes at the gym and would run local 5Ks with friends and family. I worked as a registered ER nurse. Then things started to change. Walking back from the ICU, I wasn’t able to keep pace with the team. I found weakness in my left hand. I was struggling to uncap my syringes.

When I was first told that I had ALS, my world started to crumble. I worried about my twin girls, who were 9, my son Blake, 13, who had been severely disabled since birth and required 24-hour nursing care. My oldest son, who was 15. How would my husband manage all of the responsibilities? I simply felt like the unluckiest person in the world.

At birth, we were told that Blake would live a year. He passed away in July of 2013. For me, it was a blessing; he no longer suffered. It would also be one less responsibility my husband would have to bear on his own.

My speech is now slurred, I walk like a toddler, holding on to furniture and walls to steady myself. My muscles are fading and wobbly like jello. But I’ve come to discover in all of this I’m not the most unlucky person. I have friends and family who have become golden to me. Bonds have become stronger. I try to be present in the time I have left.