Local News

Aug 19, 2014 4:30 PM by Sara Donchey

Local Woman Diagnosed With ALS Overjoyed With Ice Bucket Challenge

CORPUS CHRISTI - Kelly Rhodes knew something was wrong when she had 42 serious falls in a year and a half.

So in 2011, she went in to the doctor for a battery of tests. She was prodded and poked like a pincushion.

"I'm not getting a tattoo," Rhodes joked. "If i do, it'll say, 'Poke here.'"

Doctors initially diagnosed Rhodes with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare neurologic disorder that makes the body feel rigid and stiff.

But after two years of treatment, Rhodes wasn't getting better.

That's when she traveled to the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to get another opinion.

"The doctor had already gotten the results and he said, 'Well...it's ALS.'"

Rhodes was shocked.

ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a disease that affects the nerves and brain and often leaves people unable to move or talk.

"I have arthritis and atrophy in my hands, and they're pretty shaky right now," Rhodes looked down to her hands as they trembled in her lap. "There are things you have to re-train yourself how to do. It's a big deal to go and tie a bow in a dress."

She can't drive, or work as a pre-school assistant teacher anymore. But Rhodes' struggles haven't gotten her down.

"There's hope. There is hope. We all have our good days and our yuck days..all of us do! And I'm no exception."

The recent explosion in popularity of the online "Ice Bucket Challenge" has been delightful for Rhodes.

As of Tuesday, it had already raised $22.9 million dollars for the ALS Association.

Rhodes calls fad "crazy awesome." In fact, she says she's up for the challenge herself.

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