“Before his ALS diagnosis, Jim Berry was an athlete who participated in triathlons, mountain climbing, golf and biking. He even ran the Chicago Marathon twice.
Before retiring due to his ALS diagnosis, Jim was also an engineer and an entrepreneur. Barb, Jim’s wife of 31 years, is Jim’s primary caregiver and a schoolteacher. Barb and Jim have two children. The Berry family is pictured above celebrating their son’s graduation from Michigan State University.
A year after beginning to show ALS symptoms, Jim received his ALS diagnosis in May 2016. At this point, Jim was utilizing a wheelchair part-time. It was difficult for the Berry family to process this diagnosis, as just a year before, Jim and Barb had been snowshoeing and hiking in New Mexico.
Jim’s Brigance Brigade Foundation PALS Grant Program award helps enable Barb to continue work full-time as a teacher. Barb’s employment provides vital income and health insurance to the Berry family.
The Berry family currently spends over $7,000 out of pocket per month on Jim’s caregiving needs.
When reflecting upon what surprised her most about her experience as an ALS caregiver, Barb stated “I was surprised by the loss of privacy necessary to meet Jim’s care needs. I am shocked at the lack of funding and support for care.”