This GivingTuesday we want to introduce you to our dear friend Mark Daher. Mark grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario and attended the same high school as our Executive Direct Cherrie. (Many of our friends will know that Cherrie’s brother was only 32 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Sadly, Christopher passed away in 2016.)
One of Christopher’s greatest fears was that his family and friends would stop talking about ALS once he was gone. He said, “If you stop talking about ALS, nothing will change for the disease. There will be no funding for research and there will be no cure.”
So this GivingTuesday, we want to share Mark’s story with you.
Mark is not the most outgoing of people, in fact, his wife Asmaa will tell you that she had to make the first move! Mark does have a wonderfully positive energy about him and smile that will light up a room.
Mark and Asmaa met online and, yes, after Asmaa made the first move, they dated and married in 2010. Their sweet little girl Veronica entered their lives soon after in 2011.
Mark was a co-manager at a big box store and was even given a position to help teach others to become managers. He loved, loved, loved to eat pasta (who doesn’t?)! Mark’s quiet nature also manifested itself in quiet nights watching tv and sports.
In 2013 life changed for Mark. He didn’t notice it himself, but he began to walk with a limp and sometimes he slurred his words. It took a co-worker and his wife to point these things out to him before he sought medical attention.
On October 31, 2013, Mark received his diagnosis. It was ALS.
Mark and Asmaa’s daughter was only two and a half years old. Mark and Asmaa were only three years into their marriage. There was supposed to be so much more to look forward to.
Today Mark has a full-time caregiver, in addition to having his faithful and loving wife by his side. He lives in a motorized wheelchair, which he can control with his eyes. He has a feeding tube to keep him sustained and a breathing tube to help him breathe. An eye-gaze machine and computer help Mark “speak” and surf the web.
Asmaa’s wish for Mark is that his ALS stops progressing so that she can have him around for their lifetimes. She would also love for Mark to be able to stand up again one day and give her and Veronica a great big hug.
This GivingTuesday, give generously if you can, and help Asmaa’s dream come alive. It’s time to make ALS history.