As a licensed cosmetologist and hairdresser for 19 years, Janie Gobeli was concerned when she began to lose strength and dexterity in her right hand. Walking was already difficult for her, having recently broken her kneecap in a fall. Soon her concerns were confirmed when Janie was diagnosed with ALS in December 2021.
Today, she is dependent on AFOs (ankle-foot orthoses), a type of prosthetic, and a walker most of the time. For long distances, she uses her power wheelchair, or a family member or friend pushes her in a transport wheelchair. But she has great difficulty climbing stairs, so getting in and out of her home became a significant challenge.
Janie applied for our Walter Boughton Support Services Grant to help with the cost of an elevator lift for her power wheelchair. In August, we awarded her grant, and construction on her home began.
The Boughton Grant Program offers financial awards to help defray the cost of equipment, home modifications and other items for people in financial need who are living with ALS. It is named after Walter Boughton, who lost his battle with ALS in 1993. Walter’s grandchildren Kathryn and Lauren established a foundation to raise funds in his memory and have funded this program since 2016.
“I am grateful for the Les Turner ALS Foundation’s Boughton Grant because it allows me to enter my home using the wheelchair lift,” says Janie. “The lift allows me to get in and out of my home using either my walker or wheelchairs. It has given me independence.”
Janie’s husband Brett runs a positive reinforcement training system for dogs and is in the process of training their new puppy to be Janie’s service dog.
“She is learning to go up and down on the wheelchair lift with me, and she loves it!” says Janie.
Janie’s positive attitude and fighting spirit get her through her ALS journey. In November, at the Foundation’s recommendation, Janie joined the NEALS Clinical Research Learning Institute, to train to become an ALS Research Ambassador. She is very excited to advocate, educate, and have a voice for the fight against ALS and finding cures.
The Walter Boughton Grant Program has made a big difference for Janie and other people living with ALS, and your donations can make it go even further. Please consider donating to help more people like Janie get the support they need to make living with ALS a little easier.