Forever In Stitches has been a Grand Sponsor of "ALS Hopes & Dreams" for years, and we intend to continue doing so.
You can visit the page dedicated to Quilters Dream Batting's "ALS Hopes & Dreams" at hopesanddreams.quiltersdreambatting.com/home.html and the list of sponsors at hopesanddreams.quiltersdreambatting.com/sponsors.html. They were also kind enough to also list a blog page dedicated to Forever In Stitches at hopesanddreams4acure.blogspot.com/2014/07/meet-forever-in-stitches-1000-grand.html.
My mother died of Alzheimer's. My sister of MS. A best fried of ALS. With ALS, you know that they are being carried to their death, while in full consciousness, over an extended period of time, being held captive to witness their own demise. During that time the links that bind them with others are cut until they can't even talk, but you know they hear and sense everything.
ALS attacks the motor nerves. The afflicted can still sense everything while at the same time able to do less and less until there is nothing left that they can do!
Twenty-some years ago I was talking to one of my best friends, David Alderman, who was president of my company, Grihalva Associates, Inc. Dave Alderman asked me to raise my hands above my head. It was easy.
He told me that he wanted to see how difficult it was for me to raise my hands above my head. He remembered that just a short while earlier he seemed to remember that it was easy for him, too. But now it was not. Could it have been just age? Limited range-of-motion creeps up on you and you don't notice [similar to not being able to touch your toes any longer]. We were both in our mid-forties at the time.
Dave showed me that he could not raise his left arm higher than his shoulder. Being a stout, strong, man the situation troubled both of us.
Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with ALS [Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease].
He rapidly deteriorated physically. He quickly became limited and then bound in a wheelchair. He resigned his position to seek ways to make his mark on the world before he died. The time turned out to be much shorter than he or his wife had planned upon.
As Dave, shown on the left with me, moved from one level to the next, always lower, his cheerful, gregarious nature remained. The picture was taken 11 days before My wedding to Ruth. By the day of the wedding Dave was wheelchair-bound. Dave was fortunate that his wife, Helen, was a nurse.
When you have a friend with ALS, you help with things you did not think you would normally do. Things that are certainly not "guy things". Things such as helping them urinate.The end comes after ALS has "disconnected" all of the brain from the muscles by destroying the nerves. This destruction also includes the muscles needed for breathing.
The person with ALS and their friends are certainly not the only ones who suffer. Those in the immediate family loose a key in their lives. Often, loved ones are instructed in how to administer an overdose of medication in order to limit the suffering.
After a person loses total ability to have any voluntary movement, one basically suffocates due to their inability to breathe. Fortunately for his wife, David died in his sleep.
I pray that our sponsorship will help others.
Forever In Stitches is proud to announce that we are a Grand Sponsor of "Hopes & Dreams: Quilt Challenge to ALS." In their words: To Give a Handmade Quilt is to Give the Gift of Love.
Phil Kingsley assisted with the Fall Festival, where I came to know him. He was the brother of my friend Mitch Kingsley and a professor at Bluffton University.
According to Mitch, when Phil could no longer type or speak he was provided with a communication device by a foundation that works to meet the needs of persons with ALS. With his "WinSlate" computer (as it was called) Phil could type words, sentences and entire paragraphs through blinking his left eye. In this way he communicated with his caregivers and visitors, followed email, searched the Internet, and turned on his TV and radio through the "wink of an eye."
The WinSlate support had named Phil "Fast Talker Kingsley". Those of you with whom he exchanged email messages may have seen this description of Phil pop up on your own computer screens. Some read his series of "Adventures in ALS" - some humorous, others more serious - all written on his eye gaze machine.
I would like to share a few excerpts from one of Phil's longer and more serious reflections, "Adventures in ALS: Losses and Gains."
"I am entering a new phase of my progression with ALS, a phase marked by almost total dependency on others for my physical well-being. I have been wheelchair bound for over four months, for about two months incapable of standing even with help. My right hand has been of very little use for most tasks for two or three months. But I always had my left hand for grasping and holding things, pointing, scratching, rubbing, lifting, poking, pecking out words on the iPad. Now my left hand is not much better than my right and I have largely lost those capabilities. ...
• To raise awareness of ALS -Lou Gehrig's Disease
• To provide quilts & bring recognition, hope, and warmth to the lives of ALS patients
• To raise funds for research for treatment and a cure
To get involved by donating quilts or being a sponsor please go to their web-page at www.quiltersdreambatting.com/HD/ALS.htm. The organization chooses the best quilts submitted throughout the year in the Summer. The ones they judge as best are then put on the web in September, where quilters world-wide can vote on their favorite.
The event's main sponsor is Quilter's Dream Batting. Due to its unsurpassed quality and consistency of their products, Quilter's Dream Batting is the only batting we use in the shop. It is a coincidence and a pleasure that they also sponsor the challenge!