A Chester Springs woman who was diagnosed with what is commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease two years ago is using her valiant spirit to mobilize people to fight for a cure and to assist those who are afflicted. On Saturday, friends and family of Paula Goldstein will gather for “Chilly Chili for Paula,” the second annual chili and cornbread cookoff/fund-raiser, which will benefit the ALS Foundation.
The event will be held from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the VFW Post, 837 Lincoln Highway, West Chester. Attendance is limited, but spots are still available, said Bob Harbison, one of the organizers. The $40 ticket price, which includes 50/50 raffle tickets, also gives attendees a vote for the best chili or cornbread. An additional $10 covers the fee for a chili entry; $5 for a cornbread contender. The top vote-getters in each category will earn a trophy. Contact Harbison at 484-530-2804 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Despite the toll the disease has taken on Goldstein, Harbison said, “She’s worried about others.” He said the proceeds from the event, which will also include a silent auction, will be earmarked by the ALS Foundation for equipment to assist patients, such as communication devices and wheelchairs.
Goldstein, 58, a mother of three, has no interest in sugar-coating this insidious disease, and she has shared her poignant story on the ALS website. Here’s an excerpt:
“I was officially diagnosed with familial ALS on March 16th, 2010. I believe I've had it since April of 2008. For those two years, I was being misdiagnosed with everything from fibromyalgia to Lyme's Disease to rheumatoid arthritis.
My father had ALS in the early 1980's. It took forever for him to receive a diagnosis. When he finally did, he lived for only another four months. At the time, I remembered asking his doctors if the disease was hereditary. They told me no. I asked if it was painful. They told me no. I asked if it was common in women. They told me no.
Well, they were wrong. Having been my father's caregiver, I saw the ALS progress and I have a pretty good idea of what I'll be going through. ALS doesn't just affect the patient, but everyone around me - my family and my friends. They see what I go through and how difficult it can be to do simple things. Of course they help me, but I have to add time to everything I do. When I was diagnosed I was working at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. I continued to work until it became too difficult. I hadn't planned on leaving my job at the age of 58. I went on short term disability and then onto Social Security.”
To read more, go to http://www.alsphiladelphia.org/page.aspx?pid=1068#Paula's Story.