Faces of ALS: Air Force Veteran Lori Hoover

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Lori’s Story: Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win!

Every November on Veterans Day, we honor and remember the veterans who served our country in the Armed Forces. Due to the strong connection between military service and ALS, the Foundation also remembers and honors those who have been affected by ALS.

Airman First Class Lori Hoover, an Air Force veteran, was diagnosed with ALS in May 2019.

Following her diagnosis, she was directed to the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, where she met the clinicians and Les Turner ALS Foundation Support Services Coordinator, Julie Stowell, RN. In search of support and answers, Lori especially appreciated the help from Julie: “When I was first diagnosed, Julie suggested I join the Wheaton Support Group. Julie has helped me so much with everything. Without her assistance, I would not have known what to do and where to get started.” With Lori being a veteran, Julie also provided her with a contact at Hines VA Medical Center.

Julie also informed Lori of the Foundation’s extensive support services and community events, including the annual ALS Walk for Life. Julie encouraged Lori to participate, so she gathered her friends and family and showed up in force with her team, Lori’s Legion, in 2019. In 2020, since the Walk was fully virtual, Lori and her team took their walk to a nearby forest preserve. Even though she enjoyed being with her family and friends, Lori was excited to be back in person with the ALS community in 2021.

Lori, who relies on mobility equipment to get around, expressed her enthusiasm of being back to the Walk by agreeing to walk across the finish line. She explains, “My nephew asked me if I wanted to walk across the finish line, so he and my younger son helped me cross the finish line on my feet.” She adds, smiling, “It was good.”

In spite of the challenges of an ALS diagnosis, Lori brings to light the positive things that have come from living with ALS. She explains, “I guess the biggest thing that has come out of having ALS is knowing that I have so much support. My family is very close, and we’ve just become closer.” In addition to the support from her loved ones, Lori has also been busy getting out and enjoying life: “For the last couple of years, my husband and I have gone camping with my sister, niece, and nephew. This year was our last camping trip. Camping is just too hard now. But I enjoyed our time spent together.” She adds on a positive note, “We’ll find something else!”

Despite living with ALS and the possible connection to her time in the service, Lori is proud to be a veteran and of her service to this country: “I loved my time in the military. It provided me with the tools that I needed to go out and start my career in alarm system installment and services. While serving in the military, we went out to remote locations and set up tents. Then, we’d run communication lines between all of the tents like we were at war. The reasoning behind doing this was that if we ever went to war, we would be sent first to set up everything. Having had this type of experience, it set me up for a career in that field.”

Lori looks back favorably on her time served in the military. She also makes sure to bring that positive outlook into life as a person living with ALS. She says, “The most important thing is staying positive, even though this disease is horrible! The negativity will ruin you.” She adds, “My other piece of advice is to laugh as much as you can. When you do get down, know that there is always someone to help you.”

We thank Lori for both her service and her ongoing positivity in her ALS battle. Let’s aim high and win! Help Lori and others in their ALS battle and donate here