For the Abbate family the Walk to Defeat ALS is a bi-coastal family affair. Elan Swanson first formed the walk team Donna Donna Bo Bonna in honor of her mom Donna who lives in Los Angeles, and was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. But just one Walk team wasn’t enough, so Chris Abbate, Donna’s brother, decided their team would have a presence on both coasts and will participate in both the Westchester and LA Walks.
“Donna has a big family support group here on the east coast because it is where she lived for years before moving out to LA two years ago for a job opportunity and to be closer to her daughter and granddaughter,” Chris said.
Chris said that for his family, the Walks are all about spreading awareness, raising funds, and keeping Donna’s spirits up.
“We have noticed changes since her diagnosis. Her speech pattern has altered; she speaks a little slower, especially when the discussion becomes lengthy. When it comes to physical work, she does things at her own pace, but she does NOT give up or ask for help. Donna is a fighter, strong and courageous in all aspects of her life.
Chris says the challenges haven’t stopped Donna from living her life to the fullest!
“She has been traveling quite a bit. We met her in Nashville and she also recently went to Hawaii. She’s come back to NY twice, traveled to Vegas, and has a trip planned this year to Arizona,” Chris said. “Even though the disease is having an affect on her it’s not effecting her joy or her love to live.”
The Abbate family says it’s important for others to step up and get involved now, before it hits close to home.
“Get involved because you never know when it might affect you or your family, or a close friend. If it does, try and support them as best you can. I encourage people to help by walking, and if possible, by donating,” Chris said. “Our entire family is Donna’s support team and we do it all for her.”
To find a Walk to Defeat ALS in your area, head to our website and register today for one of our 3 remaining Fall Walks!
www.ALSWALKS.org or call 1-800-672-8857