Brian Davis in his wheelchair and his daughter Ada on his lap.

The things that matter the most

Mark HeidenFaces of ALS, Foundation Blog, Home Page

Brian Davis was diagnosed with ALS last year at the age of 35. This holiday season, Brian and his wife Katy McNeil want to share how the disease has affected them – and how much your support for the Les Turner ALS Foundation means to families like theirs.

“We had a really bad diagnostic process. Then we got involved with Les Turner.”

For Brian, the first symptoms were speech problems. He was in great physical condition, an avid chef and ice hockey player, and he was suddenly slurring his speech. Finding help was difficult – one doctor insisted it must be anxiety, even after a trip to the emergency room.

Today, Brian is receiving care at the Lois Insolia ALS Clinic at the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine. Physical therapy has helped him continue walking short distances with the aid of a walker. He’s also in a study at the clinic, helping uncover information that researchers will use to find cures for the disease.

When you make a gift to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, you’re making it possible for families like theirs to get world-class multidisciplinary care that improves health and extends lives – and helps make every moment count.

“I miss picking up the girls or dancing with them or running around with them.”

Brian Davis and Katy McNeil in their bedroom, with Brian's ALS equipment in view.Nothing can prepare you for an ALS diagnosis – or how quickly the disease moves. When they received the news, Katy was 12 weeks pregnant with their second child, Penny. Their first daughter, Ada, was about to turn three.

“He can’t pick up Ada anymore, which is hard, and it’s hard for her,” says Katy. “She has a therapist. She’s processing it in her three- year-old way and she’s dealing with it, but it’s tough. It’s like, well, Dad loves you and he can’t dance anymore.”

With the constant changes and unknowns of ALS, it can be hard for families to find stability. But support from the Les Turner ALS Foundation has meant Brian and Katy can plan ahead and prepare. Easton Stevenson, LCSW, from our support services team, is there to answer questions, anticipate needs, and connect them with providers who understand ALS.

“Easton is super helpful,” says Katy. “We’ve been able to get out ahead of so many things. She got us a lift for Brian’s bed. We had to rehab our house, and she helped put us in touch with a contractor, and helped us figure out what we would need, like a lift in our garage.”

Your gift to the Les Turner ALS Foundation allows us to support families at no cost with care coordination meetings, grants and equipment loans, support groups, and solutions for the daily challenges of living with ALS. With backgrounds in fields like nursing, counseling, social work, and speech-language pathology, our team is there every step of the way.

“Anything to help the Les Turner ALS Foundation.”

Brian Davis, Katy McNeil, and their daughter AdaFrom their work networks to their family and friends, Brian and Katy have been raising money for the Foundation because they want people to understand how devastating ALS is – and how much it means to have support.

“Whenever we can, we tell people about the help that Les Turner has given us,” says Katy. “It’s important to us to give back to the community in any way we can.”

This holiday season, please join them and make a gift to support ALS care and research through the Les Turner ALS Foundation. The impact of this disease is devastating – but your donation matters so much to the families we serve, like Brian, Katy, Ada, and Penny.


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