A Mother’s Day Story of Love: The Power of the ALS Community

Lura Sawyer of Mechanicsburg, PA is a loving mother, grandmother, friend and full-time caregiver to her husband and best friend Pete who has been living with ALS for over five years. The physical and emotional strain of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the Sawyers in ways like never before. But even that doesn’t stop this special woman’s resolve.

You can always count on Lura and Pete participating in many events and programs with The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, including the Hershey Walk to Defeat ALS on the grounds of the Hershey Medical Center’s ALS Association Treatment Center of Excellence where Pete is a patient. The Sawyers are also staunch ALS advocates, who plan as part of ALS Awareness Month in May, to join The ALS Association in virtually advocating for funding for ALS care and research.

You might say Lura is a “Supermom” with a capital “S.” In addition to her roles as caregiver, mother and grandmother, she runs an on-line business, is an animal-activist and great baker, volunteers for several non-profit organizations, and teaches bible study…all with a vibrant sense of humor!

But this “supermom” had a problem. And, like many who are using social media to reach out during this time of social distancing, she took to Facebook for help. Her post last week read, “Good Morning — Is there anyone out there who can help me with a PowerPoint presentation and add music to it?”

The Chapter reposted Lura’s request, and Sarah Brendle — a “supermom” in her own right, saw the post and immediately sprang into action. Her son, Dillon, a Junior at Upper Perkiomen High School in Pennsburg, PA might be the perfect person to assist Lura.

Sarah has been living with ALS for many years and the entire Brendle family is very involved in the ALS cause as well. “Supermom” Sarah organizes the family’s Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS team, participates in ALS advocacy efforts and her husband Chris, three children and she add to the festivity at Chapter events such as the Holiday Party.

Dillon writes with thoughtfulness that comes from a lifetime of pitching in whenever needed at the Brendle household. “I didn’t know Lura, but I figured I could help. It wasn’t a big deal for me to help her out. I’m pretty good with computers and I know they can be tough for some. I know from my mom’s experience with ALS that help can come in many forms and being there for people even if you don’t know them is important. I’m glad I could add the music to accompany Lura Sawyer’s PowerPoint presentation.”

The presentation was of course for one of Lura’s several “occupations” — Bible Study Teacher!

Writes Lura, “I would like to say thank you to The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter and to Dillon. First, the Chapter reached out to me when I needed assistance and connected me to Dillon who willingly shared his expertise.”

This is not a time when a neighbor can just pop over and fix a computer problem. The Sawyers, like all ALS families, must be especially vigilant during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lura adds, “I truly appreciate Dillon taking time out of his day to help me with my little project and explaining to me the step that I missed. It is very nice to know there are people out there that will help others in a time of need.”

Lura and Dillon’s story represents the power of the ALS community. A power that emanates from knowing that each person can impact another’s life…and two “supermoms” who make it all happen.

PS — Lura received her grade on her presentation — 297 out of 300! Thank you Dillon for your help!

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