Cathy Dudley

- Keynote speech for the ALS walk 2014

 

Good morning.  My name is Cathy Dudley and I’m here today with my team, Catherine’s Crew, to walk beside you all in our fight to defeat ALS.  Thank you for your tremendous generosity, fighting spirit and support, all of which will sustain, uplift and comfort us until a cure for this terrible disease is found.

 

I am 54 years young.  I had a grand plan for the next few years that I put into action at the end of May: retire after 29 years of 50-60 hour work weeks, get my bad knee replaced in early June, get back on the golf course in late August and then spend the bulk of my time with my son and daughter helping them navigate their last years of high school and first years of college.  I had planned to reconnect with friends; spend more time with family near and far; and continue, even expand, my volunteer work.  The right knee replacement went off without a hitch.  Six weeks later, I went to my doctor as my left foot had begun to drag, my right hand was weak and my speech was slurred some days. I was diagnosed with ALS. 

 

Unfathomable.  Unbelievable. Unfair.  Frightening. Unbearable.  One of my favorite sayings is “it’s good to have options.”  For the first time, I felt as if I had none.

That was 3 long months ago. Friends, family and strangers who have become friends reminded me of who I am: independent, strong, a fighter, a planner and a fixer.  While I can no longer do so many things that I took for granted: take a walk, cook dinner, clean up after my teenagers, write a grocery list, drive, I do have a new grand plan forming.  With the help, love, strength and generosity of family, friends, doctors, therapists and the caring team at ALS of MA, I will get through each and every day safely and doing as many things as I can. 

 

The support from Jan and Margie at MA ALS has kept me and my caregivers focused on understanding that while this path is not the one I originally envisioned, we will be able to adapt to the curves and bumps along the way.  Happily married 21 years to Tony, with two beautiful and amazing children: Jack, 17 and Eve, 16, we are learning to cherish every moment, celebrate small victories and laugh whenever we can.  We will all navigate this ALS journey with family, friends, love and most importantly hope.

 

 - October 2014

 

Please donate generously to CCALS in Cathy's name.