I am Julie Garcia
a family member of someone we've lost to ALS
To this day, the sound of the game reminds me of hot summer afternoons at my grandparent's home, and Sunday dinners with them.
Many Sunday afternoons were spent on the northwest side of the city at my grandparents’ home. If they had air conditioning, it was never turned on. My brother and I toggled between walking down Addison to get candy at Links, hanging out in the back yard, and heading into the front room, where the Cubs game was ALWAYS on, while my grandmother faithfully kept the stats of every player. When Ryno arrived on the scene, hope and a new love was given to Grandma, though she would not make it to 2016 to see her beloved Cubbies take the World Series. That is ok, she lived a full life! To this day, the sound of the game reminds me of hot summer afternoons at my grandparent’s home, and Sunday dinners with them.
My mother Nancy, while not the same level fan my grandma was, kept up with how they were doing. It is interesting to me as I think back, that my mom who was born after Lou Gehrig passed, shared his story with me many, many times. It shook me, as I could see it pained her to think about what he had endured. I am not surprised that at a time where there was such little awareness about ALS, that my mom was aware of the pain that others were suffering through. That is who she was, a person for others always. And she made sure I understood as well. Somewhere along the way, ALS became our biggest fear.
I happened to marry a fabulous Cuban, whose first love was baseball. It was fitting that while he had just met my grandmother, he served as a pallbearer at her funeral. He has his own baseball story to tell, but the culmination of it all was attending the World Series with our oldest son, and a friend he had committed to going with years prior, “when the Cubs got there.” My mother was elated that not only were the Cubs there and won, but that her son in law and grandson, both of whom she adored, were able to make their way to Cleveland and get tickets!
In 2018 my mom started having some minor health issues. She was in great shape, very active and was on top of things. I was not concerned. After Christmas, she called me in tears stating that the doctors could not determine what was going on, and she believed she had Parkinson’s Disease. I quickly gained access to her medical records, saw that an EMG was ordered and knew that in all likelihood, our worst fears might become our new reality. Four months later, this was confirmed, my beautiful mom had ALS.
After a truly remarkable fight, as only ALS patients can understand, we lost my mom, my best friend and my hero on June 11th, 2021.
My mom remains with us, I know that to be true, and will be by our side at Lou Gehrig Day at Wrigley. She may even be watching along side Lou! God knows she felt his pain and suffering long before having to experience it herself. I am so grateful for this incredible day and event, and am proud to attend on behalf of all the warriors and families that have faced, or are currently facing this horrific battle. We hold all of you so close to our hearts every single day, and we know there is hope for current patient’s futures.