Gayle Jacobs’ journey with ALS started in 2017 when she was diagnosed at the age of 44. A wife and mother of two young boys, the last thing she expected to hear from her doctor were those three terrible words, “You have ALS.”
Devastated by the news, Gayle said there wasn’t much else to do but cry for a bit with her husband Doug and break the news to her loved ones. An optimistic and positive person by nature, she realized what an incredible network of support she had surrounding her with her family and friends, and she quickly set her sights on how she wanted to live her life with ALS.
“Quantity’s a given at this point since there is no cure,” she says. “But from a quality standpoint, I want to do what I want to do and live. And frankly, that's kind of how it’s always been. I have the hugest and most amazing network of friends and family who take care of me, love me, give me support. They're just all so amazing. So I feel really blessed to be in the position I'm in, even though ALS is part of that world.”
Spending time with friends, spending time with family and traveling the world are things that have always been a priority for a Gayle, and she was not going to let that change. “ALS may take away many things, but you can still be you. Before my diagnosis, I loved the ocean, the sun, my friends, food, wine. And I still love all those things. It might not be as easy to get to the ocean or to eat and drink, but I still love them. They make me happy.”
Gayle and Doug also connected with their local ALS Association care team and say they are thankful they did. From equipment loans, like a walker she calls “Wilma,” to information and education to emotional and community support, the team is there to help every step of the way. “The ALS Association has given me so much—resources, support, connection, hope for others in the future,” she said. “All these things help me to approach every challenge as a new beginning. Something to overcome. To manage. And I make sure to take time to celebrate all the victories over what I can control.”
Everyone who meets Gayle marvels at her amazing sense of humor and positive outlook, and often remark that it’s because of her that they are able to find hope as well. “The most powerful tool I’ve given myself is my positivity. I choose to live in the moment, find the light, and never say ‘no,’” she says. “But I’ve had it all my life. You don’t have to wait for a diagnosis like ALS to choose that path.” And to prove that point, she’s continuing to share videos of her life experiences living with ALS to show the world that regardless of what the disease takes from her, she is continuing to live her best life.
Gayle admits she’s always been a very hard realist saying “you live your life to the fullest with the hand you're dealt. I've had a lot of fun these last four years, and I've done a lot more than I otherwise would've,” she says. “And that's kind of cool, because when this cure comes for ALS and I get to beat this and keep living, I'll have to make a whole new bucket list.”
Special thanks to Gayle Jacobs for allowing us to share her inspiring story and personal journey with ALS. If you want to learn more about how you can help people like Gayle during ALS Awareness Month and beyond, visit our website HERE.