Loving Between the Divide

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Not Your Average Love Month Story

Hector and Gladys Villalobos married in 1972 and raised three sons together who brought loving grandkids into their lives! Hector is a retired orthopedic surgeon and had an idea of what Gladys was going to go through when she received the ALS diagnosis on May 6, 2015 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Around the time that Gladys was touring doctors and receiving a confirmation on her final diagnosis, they divorced after 43 years of marriage.

The whole family at a party
A Villalobos family party

“Love to me is everywhere, in everything I see, in everything I do and it’s what moves me to thrive, survive - and I’m not giving up,” Gladys exclaims.

Gladys shared that since they’re divorced, the story of her and Hector may not be the brightest feature for the month, but they’re still friends and proud grandparents supporting the family together. Hector is still the main caregiver to Gladys, and helps her with her online store Slowly It Is by bookbinding, packaging, mailing and more. "Slowly it is creating awareness for ALS."

Hector Working on Store
Hector helping Gladys with her online store Slowly It Is

Gladys believes that some of the greatest love she receives comes from The ALS Association Florida Chapter support groups and multidisciplinary ALS clinics. She credits her mobility scooter and being able to take rides with her grandson to us.

Rides on Scooter
Thanks to The ALS Association Florida Chapter, Gladys and her youngest grandson take rides together on the mobility scooter.

“I believe that those of us who are battling this disease, need love, kindness, compassion, laughter, joy - because as humans, we feel and appreciate those feelings. It’s what I feel! Love is always in the air!”

Mia - the youngest addition to the family and girls; Gladys says she can’t hold her, but loves looking at her.

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