HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Rose Christopher was diagnosed with ALS in 2009. She has since been confined to a wheelchair and had to give up her nursing career.

“The little things people take for granted, I can no longer do,” Rose said.

This includes being put to bed, going to the bathroom and having somebody feed her. She’s also beginning to lose her ability to talk.

“Pretty much every aspect of life, aside from breathing, we have to help her with, or do for her,” said John Christopher, Rose’s husband.

The Christopher’s say that in Western Maryland there are no support groups and the doctors aren’t experts on the disease.

“I think in this area we need better awareness,” Rose said. “Everybody knows that it’s a neuromuscular disease, but they don’t understand the effects of it.”

“Many neurologists are aware of ALS, and if they suspect that a patient has ALS, they usually refer them to a center of excellence,” said Robin Swope, Care Services Coordinator for Western Maryland with the DC, MD, VA Chapter of the ALS Association.

But Swope added that a lot of the centers for excellence are in more populated areas like Baltimore because ALS is such a rare disease.The closest support group that the ALS association offers is in Rockville, but it’s a drive that takes a serious toll on Rose’s body.

“It’s hell. It’s hell sitting in a chair all day watching your life go by,” Rose said. “I’m trapped. I’m trapped in this body.”

But Rose says she’s not afraid of what happens next and she has a strong religious faith. Her advice is to enjoy the life you have.

The ALS Association will be hosting the Walk to Defeat ALS on June 6th at Baker Park in Frederick, MD. 

The Christopher’s also have a Go-Fund-Me account set up for Rose to accept donations.