EHOVE joins the fight against ALS

How many of your friends and family have done the ice bucket challenge?  How many of them really know what ALS is all about and how it affects the person with the disease and everyone in their lives?

Melissa Belcher is a 42 year old mother of two who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.  A well-known and well-liked math teacher and coach at Toledo Whitmer and Sylvania Northview Schools, Belcher also coached a Toledo Central Catholic volleyball team to the state championship in 2007.

Belcher shared her experiences with the students and staff at EHOVE Career Center during a presentation on September 11.  She covered how ALS has changed her life and independence, and how it affects her children, siblings, parents and future in a premade presentation using a communicator.  Afterward, she and her family answered questions from the students.

Belcher’s visit was arranged through EHOVE’s Teen Leadership Corps.  Teen Leadership Corps is an elective course offered at many schools throughout northern Ohio.  The course empowers teens to achieve their leadership potential through a character and service-based curriculum.  More information is available at www.ConnectTLC.org.

EHOVE Assistant Principal Rod Smith is Belcher’s older brother.  “We’re thrilled of the awareness brought by all the people doing the ice bucket challenge,” said Smith.  “It’s important that we bring a face to it so people truly understand what ALS is and how it affects everyone involved.”

EHOVE’s Teen Leadership Corps students raised $2760.29 from students and staff for Miracles 4 Melissa.  They donated by voting on which program and administrator would do the ice bucket challenge on September 19.  They also donated $1 to wear a red shirt that day as well.  Cosmetology and Visual Media Tech students, their instructors and Smith all did the challenge.  They started it by yelling, “This is for Melissa!”

Photos and video of the ice bucket challenge plus photos of Belcher’s visit are available at www.Facebook.com/EHOVEworks.

EHOVE Visual Media Tech student Lauren Cacciatore (Vermilion HS) is in Teen Leadership Corps and SkillsUSA.  She created a SkillsUSA project video to encourage her fellow students to participate and donate to the cause.

 

While the majority of ALS cases occur in men over age 40, Melissa was just in her 30′s with an active and full life when diagnosed. This illness has taken Melissa’s mobility and independence, and is currently stealing her ability to speak. 

Melissa cannot practice baseball with her third grader. She has not been able to hold her toddler since he was an infant. She cannot hold her sons tight, sing to them before bed or even get herself ready for work each morning. Yet, a genuine smile rarely leaves her face.

For more information about Melissa Belcher’s journey, go to www.Miracles4Melissa.com