When you have three kids, a husband with a terminal disease and a full-time career, there isn’t much time left for you. Emily Jennings, in that situation relied on her community. “I couldn’t have done it without my friends. My family, brother-in-law, my sister and friends that just came out of the woodwork.”
20 years later that community continues to support Emily and her family when they walk in the Walk to Defeat ALS®, as well as many other ways. “Every year the walk is different, “ Emily says, “What can we do to make it fresh? Each of my children take turns writing letters to our friends and family who have been contributing. We continue to tell our story.” That support is evident in the results they have achieved over the years: raising nearly $300,000 for The Chapter.
The inspiration for the family to work to raise awareness and dollars to fight ALS comes directly from John. Emily recalls “Once we came to grips with it, then John was like ‘ok, I’m in all the way.’ He was just determined to find a cure; help people find a cure for this horrible thing.”
In addition to the Walk the family has made trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of people living with ALS, sits on various committees and the Board of Directors and acts as ambassadors for both The ALS Association and those battling ALS. For 20 years they have taken John’s memory and made it his legacy to help.
Before her diagnosis, Jennifer Beckerman was as an athlete, avid motorcyclist, mother, volunteer and eternal optimist who believed in giving back and paying it forward. Then, on Dec. 9, 2015, she received her diagnosis of ALS.
“It was an insignificant day until it became significant,” she said.
Now Jennifer Beckerman is a fan of her daughter’s mad soccer skills and loves riding on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. She is a mother, volunteer and eternal optimist who believes in giving back and paying it forward.
“Nothing has changed. I’ve just added three letters to my life.” she said. “ALS has not changed my goals. I just live my life in a more swift fashion to make sure things get accomplished.”
Since her diagnosis, Jennifer has gone to Sturgis, sat on the beach in Mexico and continues to ‘chase the sun.’ “I have found so much kindness being in this chair,” she said. “I would never have wished for ALS, but somehow it has given me so much more.”