Last year, I wrote a story about talented local singer Bronwen Zwicker, a Trinity High School and James Madison University graduate who was stricken with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
It was one of the most heart-wrenching interviews I've conducted in 23 years of writing for alt. weeklies. She comes from a really cool musical family and something else about Zwicker was immediately clear: She's one of the most empathetic people I've ever met, just an amazing person, and she is facing this medical trauma and end of life care with real courage and love for her family and friends.
The disease has ravaged her body, but not her mind. By all accounts, she's keeping up the fight while still caring about the people around her. But not only is ALS one of the cruelest diseases, it's also one of the most expensive. This holiday season, if you'd like to help provide for the round-the-clock care of this amazing individual, join Team Bronwen here and make a donation.
When I spoke with Zwicker a year ago, she was starting to have difficulty breathing and speaking, but she still gave a beautifully eloquent interview. It's painful for me now to listen back to the audio -- but it's also hopeful and uplifting that someone could still shine like she did in that situation.
"I think I was on a really good trajectory as a person, prior to my diagnosis, growing as a person and becoming increasingly sensitive to people around me," she told me. "That hasn't changed, but it's taken on a new form."
Nobody should have to bear the immense financial burden that a diagnosis of ALS brings in this country (it can easily reach over $200,000 a year). Bronwen has 100 caregiving shifts each month and one-time donations and recurring donations are available.