ALS Stories

Heidi Smith, Team Challenge ALS Champion


When my husband Frank was diagnosed with ALS we were stunned. He would get up early in the morning to get a workout in before work. He was always running around with the kids and very active.

Frank was diagnosed with ALS and told, “If you have always wanted to take a trip, now is the time to do it.” The next day we bought a mini cooper and started planning a trip to Italy.

We got involved with our local chapter of the ALS Association shortly after Frank was diagnosed – they were always very supportive and provided guidance for us as we struggled to live with this illness. We received information about the illness, attended support groups, and borrowed equipment from the loan closet.

This disease is horrific. Frank stopped walking, and lost his ability to eat and talk. There is no cure and little treatment. It is so hard stand by and watch the person that you love deteriorate.

In 2015, I joined Team Challenge ALS by participating in our local Spartan Race - it was incredible. It has really invigorated me and I can’t wait to do it again next year. During the race, we climb over walls, crawl under barbed wire, slog through mud and jump over fire. Thinking about Frank gives me the strength to keep going. Frank lost his battle with ALS. I still do it for Frank and others who have ALS. Those coping with the disease on a daily basis face a much bigger challenge simply going through daily tasks. Surely, we can face the hurdles of the Spartan race or any other endurance race obstacle for one day. Join #TeamChallengeALS.