Carnell crushes ALS

September 26, 2014

Being told she only has about three years to live doesn’t seem like very good news.

Senior McKenna Carnell knows firsthand what it’s like to cope with a loved one who has ALS.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), according to the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, is a neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells or neurons in the brain that control voluntary muscle movement.

ALS affects the spinal cord and any muscle movement due to the lack of neurons in the brain that are the controls of the nervous system.

Superoxide Dismutase, SOD1, is the 21st chromosome that largely contributes to the disease, according to the ALS Association.

It sometimes paralyzes or places others in bed rest.

“I didn’t know ALS was a thing, but I’ve heard of Lou Gehrig,” Carnell said.

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after Hall of Famer and first basemen Lou “The Iron Horse” Gehrig of the New York Yankees, who died at age 37. 2 years after his diagnosis.

Jody Morelane, Carnell’s grandmother, was first diagnosed in 2012, which was Carnell’s freshman year of high school after her vacation back from Disney World.

“We didn’t want to answer the door because it’s always bad news. And we were right…it was bad news,” Carnell said.

In that moment her world had changed and so has Morelane’s.

Being on bed rest led to days and nights of board games, television, and missed ballet recitals.

Morelane has not only missed Carnell’s solo performance, but might have to miss her granddaughter walk across the stage at graduation in 2015.

“It would mean the world to me. My cousins got to do so much with her and I just feel left out,” Carnell said.

Even though it has been a bumpy road for the Carnell’s, a few good came out of the bad.

Ever since Morelane was diagnosed, her bed rest didn’t stop her from renewing her vows with her husband, Joe Morelane, Carnell’s grandpa, on April 5.

“Now that’s true love. That was sweet,” Carnell said.

Not only has a marital bond been restored but a mother daughter bond grew stronger and tighter.

“My mom always had that connection with her mom and that’s what she wants with us,” Carnell said.

Support groups, walks for the cure, and mere donations or charities are other ways to stay connected.

Such as the Ice Bucket Challenge which alone raised $94.3 million in donations August 27, 2014. More than the $2.7 million in donations they had received the year before.

“ALS is just as serious, just as important, as Cancer or AIDS,” Carnell said.

Get nominated. Attempt the challenge. Succeed the challenge. Nominate three people. Repeat

“My grandmother refuses to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. She told me ‘I already have ALS so of course I support it,” Carnell said.

But getting a bucket of ice poured on your head isn’t the only way to get involved.

“I remember coming back from an ALS walk and I started balling. All those people I saw were detoriating [because of their conditions.] That’s how she’s going to end up,” Carnell said.


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