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Living Well with ALS: Claire Sharp

Claire emphasizes ALS awareness and a value of honest communication through participation in the annual Walk ALS. 

Claire Sharp is thrilled to be joining her second-ever Walk ALS in 2024, along with team “We Are SHARP!” She was the top fundraiser in her area for 2023 and is already a leading contender for this year’s Walk, enlisting friends and neighbors to join her in these efforts.  

Claire lives in Medford, Oregon with her husband Rick and a friendly rescue dog. She has three children, in addition to multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Fitting of her strong spirit, she’s a former stockbroker from the 1980s, a time in which few women were in the field. After noticing a limp during one of her regular weekly walks with friends, Claire was diagnosed with ALS on March 18, 2022.  

Since then, Claire has worked to raise awareness about ALS because, like many others, she was previously unaware of the disease – even within her own family. In fact, Claire didn’t realize until her own diagnosis that she has one of the 5-10% of ALS cases that are familial. She learned through a cousin that her grandfather had ALS and soon realized her uncle had it as well. Because her family didn’t talk about it, she now prioritizes communication as a personal value, sharing that “if you can’t talk about things, that’s not healthy.”

One way she’s increasing ALS awareness is by sharing her story with everyone she knows – whether they talk every day or haven’t spoken in years. She believes it’s important to share her story because “It’s very difficult to make people aware of something when it doesn’t touch their lives.” She’s happy to use her voice and personal connections to get more people involved in support of the ALS community. 

Claire also increases awareness about ALS through the annual ALS Walk, connecting with the community to raise funds that support essential care services for people living with the disease. She’s looking forward to going again this year, rallying her team “We Are SHARP!” for another successful year of fundraising.

Although Claire’s ALS diagnosis is difficult to deal with, she has found ALS Northwest to be incredibly helpful throughout her journey. After her diagnosis, Care Services staff provided her and her husband with vital information and equipment to make her day-to-day life more manageable. Claire attends the weekly Support Groups in Medford, and we partnered with Numotion to provide Claire with a ramp so she can continue to get into the front door of her house. She still has access to her voice, but has completed voice banking with the help of Assistive Technology Services Coordinator Ashley Loyning, who mailed her the headset.

Claire continues to live her life to the fullest, saying that “ALS pushes you to grab hold of life and make the most of it.” She plans to embody this with a trip to Maui this summer. She’s also very involved in her local community, creating a book club to deepen connection with those in her neighborhood because “relationships are the most important thing in life – it’s important to cherish them and allow them to grow.” She also participates in a weekly board game session with neighbors and enjoys exploring the many amazing wineries in Oregon.

Overall, Claire is thankful for her supportive and amazing husband, community, and the beautiful life she is living. Her fighting spirit is infectious, moving those around her as she advocates for a world without ALS.

Register alongside Claire for the 2024 Walk ALS nearest you!

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