I am Maria Hernandez

a family member of someone we've lost to ALS,
someone who cared for a person we've lost to ALS


She was a leader, a role model -- my role model -- whose courage I wish to attain in my lifetime.

In Memory of Gracie Sanchez, diagnosed with ALS March 2, 2018.

I am participating in the Central Valley walk (Fresno) in memory of my mom Gracie Sanchez, who lost her battle with ALS May 10, 2018. Gracie left behind three daughters: Maria Elena, Anastacia and Nickki, and her 5 corazones (plus 2 she was never able to meet), her grandchildren Jasmine, Elizabeth, Jose, Jesus and Christina plus Jaziel and Griselda.

My mom was a beautiful person on the outside and inside. During her 21 years of service to Parlier Unified School District she made a difference in the lives of many students, coworkers and friends. I remember the late nights she would spend in the office when she worked at the school resource center, working on the final touches for events like health fairs, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the community. She had an influence in many of the projects/grants that came out of the resource center including the daycare center for teen moms at the high school. During her time at the high school campus, she took charge of the Sober Grad Night for seniors and got the students involved again.

I especially remember all the times she stood up at board meetings and fought for anyone who was being wronged. It could’ve been students or her fellow coworkers whom she fought for as CSEA President for some time. She loved to be involved with the students and help in any way that she could. She was a leader, a role model — my role model — whose courage I wish to attain in my lifetime.

As far as we can remember my mom had symptoms for 3 years, but it wasn’t until 2017 when her health declined rapidly after 2 surgeries on her back that were thought to be the cure to the weakness she was having. In February 2018 after convincing my stubborn mother to go into the ER with stoke like symptoms and after a month in the hospital, we were given the devastating news: my mom was diagnosed with ALS March 2, 2018.

Prior to the official diagnosis, my mom was having an MRI test done with mild sedation. Because of complications, the test was not completed and she didn’t come out of sedation on her own, so we made the decision to have her intubated. Then unfortunately, after diagnosis we learned the ventilator would not be coming off and that was going to be our life with ALS.

Even though my mom has passed and we lost her to this horrible disease, we chose to walk and raise awareness because more research has to be done. We need to find a cure so that no other family has to go through what we have been through in just 3 short months. The MRI test is a prime example — after they attempted that test, her lung diaphragm became paralyzed. Why? Why does this disease come on full force after procedures? We need to take steps toward finding answers.

Together we can beat ALS!

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