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Italy, July 2010. 5 months before diagnosis, my dad was limping and actually tripped, hence the cast.
On June 1st, Andrya Gallo lit a candle. Why? For her father Claudio, who fought a difficult battle against ALS for almost 5 ½ years.
December 30th 2010 was the day. Those of you that know about the disease, or football, would know that that was the day that Tony Proudfoot lost his battle with ALS. Well, I will always remember that day as the day my father was given a death sentence.
As the years passed, we watched my father lose his ability to walk, write, eat, breathe, speak and towards the end blink. And though it was probably one of the most difficult things that our family went through, my dad’s will to live always made this journey worth it. He wouldn’t give up. It started with a cane, then manual wheelchair, then electric wheelchair where he’d try to race with us down the street. He’d obviously win – and he was so proud about it when he would.
Though our lives were some would say “put on hold” to care for him, we wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
We were then introduced to a lift, hospital bed, splints for his legs, stretches and exercises we’d have to do for his arms and legs so he wouldn’t be in as much pain as he was. My mother became a nurse and we were her backup. We learned all about his ventilator, suction machine, cleaning a trach, then shortly thereafter had to learn how to feed him through a feeding tube.
Before I go on, this all happened in a span of about 10 months.
May 2011. Last family trip. At that point, my dad was using a manual wheelchair and he insisted that we go on one more trip. We decided on a Carribean cruise.
Though our lives were some would say “put on hold” to care for him, we wouldn’t have changed it for the world. There were a lot of bad days, long hospital visits, many scares, stress and sadness watching what was once a strong, determined man deteriorate BUT there were also good days, smiles, laughs and true appreciation for love and life.
My father would not have lived his final years without the tremendous help from our local CLSC, incredible nurses and support system at the Montreal Neuro and the wonderful group at the ALS Society. They helped us so much along the way, and without them we’d be absolutely lost. They taught us, guided us and simplified an extremely complex disease. Their help/support can only get better as they try to find more treatments or hopefully a cure.
Please, donate, volunteer, or simply get the conversation going about this terrible disease – those simple acts may come a long way.
There are many things you can do that will have a decisive impact on the lives of many Quebec families touched by ALS.
Help provide families living with ALS across the province with psychosocial, technical and financial support.
Walk or ride towards a future without ALS. Together, we go further!