It would be so easy for Sue Walton to have just given up.
When the Ballardsville resident was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, in 2016, she could have lost hope. She knew the disease would rob her of her body and with it, much of life as she knew it. She would no longer be able to walk, to speak, to feed herself. The diagnosis meant being bedridden and reliant on others.
Someone as fiercely independent as Walton could have seen that as a death sentence.
But as reported by Teresa Blake in this week’s front-page feature, Walton isn’t despondent. As easy as it would have been for hopelessness to consume her, she remains excited about the future. Despite the loss of her body, the disease hasn’t taken away who she is. Sue Walton remains Sue Walton, shrewd, passionate, a bit of a prankster. She’s now an advocate for her fellow ALS patients, openly speaking out – through the use of a machine – about her concerns for their treatment and the challenges they face affording proper medical care.
And she travels, too. In the coming months, Walton and her family plan to take a trip to Yellowstone using a modified passenger bus to house her bed. She can’t move, but she hasn’t stopped, either.
Life has not been fair to Sue Walton. ALS has made her a prisoner of her own body. And yet her heart and mind remain free. With them, she lives as best she can. We at The Times find her fighting spirit inspiring.