Meet Paula Vanderhoff
Paula Vanderhoff of Louisville, Ky., is a double-duty caregiver, caring for both her son, Michael, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and her husband, Kenny, who has Parkinson’s disease.
Meet Carol Ross
Caregiving for her husband, Carl, has been a learning experience for Carol Ross of Albuquerque. For one thing, “My priorities have changed. De-cluttering my mind is important,” says Ross, 55, who has been married to Carl for 31 years.
Meet Bob Poole
Bob Poole, father of two adult sons with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), says caregiving has enabled him “to know my purpose in life, something many people never know and just wonder about. I like to tell my sons this is one of the many gifts they have given me.”
Meet Lisa Cozza
Being a single mother of two children is no easy task. When one of the children is a 9-year-old with congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) and severe cognitive impairment, it's even more challenging. Lisa Cozza of Marysville, Mich., meets this challenge with self-determination and her “never give up” philosophy.
Meet Jane Pease
Four grown children, eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, a job in career counseling and a daily meditation practice would add up to a pretty full life for almost anyone. But for Jane Pease of Gray, Maine, there’s more.
Meet Donna Sutton
Donna Sutton’s work, home life and spare time all revolve around making life better for people with disabilities. Her 16-year-old granddaughter, Ashley Renee Heffner, has lived with Donna and her husband Mark in Swoyersville, Pa., for eight years. Donna, 53, has been involved in Ashley’s care since she was a baby.
Meet Leisha Roberts
Leisha Roberts doesn’t see herself “as an amazing person or anything. I just do what I have to.” What Leisha, 37, does is provide full-time care to her two sons with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Drew, 13, and Noah, 11. The South Jordan, Utah, family also includes husband Corey and 9-year-old daughter Isabel “who helps us enormously.”
Meet Kelly Ragan
Kelly Ragan took a break from her career in special education when the first of her two children, Briggs and Quinn, were born, and planned to return to work after a few years. But when the boys were 2 and 4 years old, their father, Andrew, received a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).
Meet Rainy Christopherson
For Rainy Lin Christopherson of Peshtigo, Wis., caregiving is a way of life that began when she became the primary caregiver for her brother Robin, 46, who has Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD).
Meet Wendy Utman
“I didn’t know a person could be so tired,” Wendy Utman says of the time she spent caring for her father, Howard, who had ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). She adds, “I’d give anything in the world to be able to be that tired again.”
Meet Linda VanVliet
Single mother Linda VanVliet can accurately be described as a “supermom.” Two children, a full-time job, classes in nursing, and multiple MDA activities fill her plate. But one of her primary duties is being sole caregiver for her daughter Shelby, 11, who has congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD).