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Official media sponsor of WJZ
Official media sponsor of WJZ

Meet the People #FightingALS
with the Brigance Brigade Foundation

Darlene Butts

In 2016, Darline Butts was living an active life in retirement. She worked in the garden, attended church, and exercised by walking up to six miles per day with her husband. During the summers, she would care for her grandchildren. Life was good.

Then, one day, Darline experienced what she described as a ‘cramp’ in her right leg. The ‘cramp’ resulted in a painless limp that she would not be able to get rid of… March 29, 2017 became the day Darline and her family would never forget. After a year of appointments with general practitioners and specialists, Darline was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Before ALS, Darline was a social butterfly who had a personality that attracted people to her. Since [being diagnosed with ALS], my mother has lost her ability to walk, to care for herself, and most recently, she lost her ability to talk. we started using a communication board in which we would assist mom by spelling words … but this proved to be cumbersome because mom’s thoughts were too complex for such a simple communication device. With the aid of the Brigance Brigade Foundation, my mother was able to secure a Tobii Eyegaze device. The eyegaze has transformed all of our lives as we are now able to truly communicate with mom again.

Mom adapted quickly to the software, and after one day of having the device, sent me a text message that said “Good Morning, I can communicate now 😊” Our entire family owes a debt of gratitude to the Brigance Brigade Foundation because your help has restored communication with our mom. Now, we don’t feel as if we’ve lost her while she’s still here.