Three-and-a-half years ago, Ann Peterson got walloped with a knell of a diagnosis: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease as crippling and incurable now as it was 70 years ago when it killed Lou Gehrig. The life expectancy for an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.
Ann, her husband Eric, and their children, Erin, 9, and triplets Elizabeth, Devin, and Joshua, 5, live in Millville. Before ALS forced her very early retirement, Ann worked at Mayo Clinic as an online operations specialist. Before ALS usurped her hobbies, she enjoyed photography, card-making, gardening, cooking and baking.
But ALS can’t subdue Ann’s valor. “She has an amazing and courageous determination to participate in life to the fullest,” says her friend Melinda Otto. “The most important thing to know about Ann is that although ALS has made her a prisoner of her body, she remains the same caring, thoughtful, intelligent, creative Ann that she has always been.”
Ann belongs to Southern Minnesota Mothers of Multiples (MOMs) whose website she edits. A year ago when fire destroyed the house of MOMs member Jodi VanPelt, Ann, via computer, organized help and ordered supplies. “She shows Christ’s love and compassion in everything she does,” Jodi says.
“ALS is a terrible disease, and Ann has gracefully challenged it,” says Kristi Ruen of MOMs. She, Jodi, Melinda, and Ann share a bond: all are triplets’ MOMs.
The day Ann learned she has ALS, she started a journal. Her entry November 18, 2009, describes the ordeal of ALS and proves the indestructibility of her spirit.