Faces of ALS: Passion, Unabated

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For Diane Pospeshil and her family, music and the arts are a lifeline and part of their collective DNA. Beginning with a small dance studio they ran from the basement of their home in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, the family business – Pospeshil Performing Arts – grew to become a staple of the local community over the past 25 years.

Diane taught children and adults alike an array of dance types, including tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary and hip-hop. Her son, Matt – who says he started dancing in the womb – ran classes alongside his mom from the start and became co-owner of the business in 2015, joining his dad and sister.

Things began to change a little over two years ago when Diane experienced difficulties with speech and balance and was diagnosed with ALS. Through the recommendation of a family friend, she learned about our Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, and has been receiving care through the Clinic ever since.

“It really boils down to mom’s quality of life, which she has been able to maintain thanks to the Les Turner ALS Foundation.” -The Pospeshil Family

Diane continued to dance and teach classes over the next year, but as her physical abilities declined, so did the business. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, the Pospeshil family decided to close the studio for good.

While Diane is no longer able to walk and communicates through an eyegaze device, her passion for dance and the arts has not diminished. “She lives it now through all of us,” explains Matt, who serves as her primary caregiver. “Watching me or her grandkids perform brings her great satisfaction. My dad and brother are musicians, they play the guitar, so listening to music remains a big part of her life.” Matt attributes the joy that his mom gets out of every day in large part to the care, treatment and support she receives from the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

“The Foundation has been tremendous,” he says. “If it weren’t for the doctors at the Center who provide her with multidisciplinary care, her ALS Support Services Coordinator, Karen, access to the latest equipment, and all the communication and education we receive as a family, we’d be lost.”

Now through the end of the year, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, to support people and families living with ALS like the Pospeshils.