BATON ROUGE, La (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease" is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles. Roughly 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.
For one local family, it's been a six year battle. A challenging journey but one they've faced head on with courage and grace.
When Roxanne Green started feeling weak in 2012, the mother of four boys knew something was wrong. In the months ahead, her physical state worsened, and by the time she was officially diagnosed with ALS in June of 2013, she could barely walk.
Over the last few years, Roxanne also lost her ability to speak, but the Greens still communicate effectively.
"T, L, TLC, the boys give you a lot of TLC," Johhny says while visually communicating with Roxanne through a chart.
"She's in pain from time to time, obviously can't do the things that she would want to do. But she said the boys give her a lot of help and a lot of TLC."
For the Greens, life is busy and rewarding. Johnny is a pastor at Healing Place Church. The boys, ages 8 to 15, are active in school and athletics, yet the priority right now is simple:
"Love, that love's the most important."
Next Thursday night, April 5th, the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter will host its annual Black & White Gala to end ALS at the L'Auberge Hotel & Casino. It's another special night honoring those living with ALS, and those who have passed from the disease.
"The ALS Association locally has been great. It's been a huge help for us and a huge help for a lot of families, they've been a great support." Johnny said. "We've been a part of the ALS walk every year, call our team the Green Mile, and the whole family pitches in on that. So we do what we can because I know they do a lot of great work for a lot of people."
For Roxanne, comfort and breathing remain daily battles, but there are many bright moments, and her smile is a constant.
"Holding hands, while watching movies," Johnny said. "They climb up in the bed with her, and she makes it to as many ballgames as she can with the boys. She likes to watch them play ball."
"If you could go back before all this, would you change anything?"
"No, she says no. I don't think so. We had a good life, still have a good life."
For more information on the Black & White Gala and to purchase tickets, click here.