August 6, 2013

PALS, CALS, & Janet of Johnstown



Hugs for Janet and all her PALS and CALS



Acronyms: PALS & CALS

Acronyms serve a purpose. For example, PALS signifies Person’s Living with ALS. CALS are caregivers of PALS.

ALS. Another acronym.

It stands for amyotrophic lateral schlerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

When my husband Monte heard there was a Walk to Defeat ALS® in a nearby Pennsylvania community of Johnstown he recognized an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (oops, cliché…a no-no for writers—how else can I word it? Hmmmm…help me out, anyone…).

Anyway, cliché aside, Monte is taking an active role in the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide chat room where he became an Online acquaintance of Janet, who is actively involved in the ALS Society in Johnstown, the organization sponsoring a one-mile walk in her community on August 4, 2013. Janet actually headed Conemaugh Cares, a 17-member team  participating in the walk.

More than just a few-mile trek, the Walk to Defeat ALS® is an opportunity to bring hope to people living with ALS, to raise money for a cure, and to come together for something you care about. The Walk to Defeat ALS® is The ALS Association’s biggest annual event, which raises funds to sustain care services and support research for much of the next year.

ALS, a progressive neurological disease, can be difficult to diagnose and has no known cure.

My friend Joanne, a retired nurse, considers it one of the worst diseases a person can have because it affects the (voluntary) muscles. Patients can lose their ability to swallow, talk, walk or even breathe on their own but yet they maintain their full mental capacity.

“I’d rather be diagnosed with anything else—even cancer. Cancer comes to an end but ALS goes on and on. Imagine being trapped in your body…”

Johnstown Flood May 31, 1889

Johnstown Flood May 31, 1889

The Johnstown ALS Support Group is part of the ALS Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter which provides services and resources to persons living with ALS (PALS), their families, and caregivers in 31 counties in Central and Western Pennsylvania. If you’re a person living with ALS, family member, or caregiver, visit our local care services page to learn more about the services and resources available in your area. If you’re a supporter, friend, or person interested in volunteering, please visit our Help Fight ALS page to learn how you can support the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Pennsylvania ALS clinics are located in Pittsburgh (Allegheny General Hospital and University of Pittsburgh), Johnstown, Allentown, and Danville.

Janet is a nurse at the Johnstown clinic, where she facilitates the Johnstown ALS Support Group located in the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute in Johnstown.


Back to the topic of this post, a meeting between two chat room members.

When Monte heard about the ALS Walk in Johnstown he asked me if I wanted to go. However, the day was rainy and bleak, perfect to catch up a little on my writing, so he headed out without me.

I thought he was going to join the walk. Instead he followed Janet about and also talked with others on site. Janet, unfortunately, couldn’t walk because of a knee problem (am I supposed to tell that?). The weather held—although rain threatened it there was no active precipitation.

The event drew several hundred walkers, including ALS patients and  families of present and past ALS victims.

Monte learned that Janet was from the greater Buffalo (NY) area. FYI we met and married in Buffalo, and travel there to visit my siblings, my other daughter, and my high school friend.

I spent my teenage and pre-marriage years in Buffalo, while Monte was in the city as a physics professor at the University of Buffalo. We met at his girlfriend’s home (she was a friend of mine).

But again, I digress.

By the end of the event Monte was impressed with both Janet and the ALS work she is involved in.

Conemaugh Cares walking team

Conemaugh Cares walking team

Some comments from the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide chat room:

Comment by Janet of Johnstown, PA:  Thank you to all who prayed for our local ALS walk , held today. There was rain during the set up but very little during the festivities.
Monte a very special thanks comes your way. It was wonderful to meet you in person. I (and the team) are still flabbergasted that you came in for the walk based on my postings here. We much appreciated it. Thanks to everyone we raised $61,000 to help our people with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The majority of the monies stays in our area, but some does go to research. A truly blessed day.

Comment by Janet of Johnstown, PA: …As our Savior is the light in our lives, we too can through Him be the light in others lives. We had a lot of light yesterday at our ALS walk. It made me think of all of those I have been privileged to meet. They are the strongest people with enormous faith that humbles me.
I ask for prayers today for Betty, whose husband has ALS. She is having a knee replacement tomorrow. We got a chance to pray together yesterday as the walk closed, what a mighty warrior she is. Thanks.

Comment by monte of laughlintown, PA:  “We had a lot of light yesterday at our ALS walk. It made me think of all of those I have been privileged to meet. They are the strongest people with enormous faith that humbles me…I ask for prayers today for Betty, whose husband has ALS. She is having a knee replacement tomorrow.” (Janet of PA—prayers for Betty; Carolyn is researching ALS and preparing a post)

Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL:  (to) JANET of Johnstown, PA – I am praising the Lord that your ALS walk was a great success, and that the weather was fine for the festivities. I’m glad that you were able to raise a lot of money for the cause.

Comment by Cindy of Jersey Shore, PA: …Please give Carolyn my thanks and a HUGE hug from me for what she wrote in her blog…I treasure our friendship and look forward to the next time we can meet. Praising God that you were able to meet with Janet of Johnstown, PA…

Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL: (to) JANET of Johnstown, PA – I am praying for Betty, who is having knee replacement surgery today. I pray that the Lord will grant her successful surgery, and that He give her a quick and complete recovery. I am also praying for her husband, who suffers from ALS. I am praying for his healing, and that the Lord would lessen all the symptoms he suffers from.

PPG Place, Pittsburgh

PPG Place, Pittsburgh

If you are in the Pittsburgh area and want information on ALS and its services call 412-821-3254. If you are outside the Pittsburgh area call toll free 1-800-967-9296.


WARNING: Be careful of people you meet in an online chatroom. They often aren’t who they say they are.

It  pays to follow general rules when meeting someone you think you know from a chat room experience. They aren’t always what they present.

Meetings should always be in a public place, with someone knowing who, where and when you meeting takes place. It’s just good common sense.




A Meeting of Chat Room Friends

Is Your Table Big Enough? If not, add a leaf,_Pa,_by_Webster_%26_Albee_4.png





  1. Good morning, Carolyn. thanks for update of Janet and Monte’s meeting. And the information on ALS. Couple members of our church has ALS, this info helps to understand their condition better.
    It’s wonderful the UR members can meet and get to know each other even more…one can never have to many friends! :}
    thank you for helping those of us that live in rural areas share in these meetings.

    Comment by merry — August 6, 2013 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  2. Thanks Carolyn for the review of the walk. I love Monte’s reviews of comments, especially when I do not get to read them all. Serving others, the greatest gift you can give to others and yourself

    Comment by fhefty2013 — August 6, 2013 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  3. Carolyn, I think your reporting about the ALS walk and Janet of Johnstown in her home town is very good and shows how thoughtful and kind you are. Thank you very much. Glad that Janet and Monte were able to meet.

    Comment by packia josiah — August 6, 2013 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

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