Carol Kidd takes the ALS cause very seriously. For over four years, Carol was a voice for her beloved sister, Dottie, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008, and subsequently, through her ALS advocacy work, has become a voice for all people living with ALS. We honor her as our Chapter’s February 2020 Volunteer of the Month.
Dottie’s symptoms began with difficulty speaking and then problems swallowing. Eventually she lost her ability to speak or eat solid food and needed a PEG tube inserted for liquid feedings.
While Dottie was losing vital body functions, Carol, too, felt a loss for many things she loved about her sister. They could no longer share a delicious meal, and their once vibrant conversations became distant memories. What remained constant was the mutual love the sisters shared.
Throughout Dottie’s ALS journey, Carol admired her sister’s ability to stay positive and strong. “I was so impressed by Dottie’s courage and determination,” said Carol. “I joined her at most of her ALS Association Treatment Center visits and Chapter support group meetings and we both found them very helpful. The support from the Chapter was so caring and helpful at every step.”
Dottie’s symptoms continued to progress. In the fall of 2011, she was placed on a ventilator because she could no longer breathe on her own. Her family cared for her along with round-the-clock nurses. On March 23, 2012, Dottie made her own decision to come off the ventilator and sadly she passed away that evening.
As Dottie struggled with ALS, Carol felt helpless. Try as she might, she couldn’t slow down her sister’s disease. While Carol admired her sister’s resolve, she was angry that ALS had robbed her family of the Dottie they once knew and loved.
That is why Carol decided to do whatever she could to continue Dottie’s fight. She wanted to match Dottie’s determination. First, in 2008, Carol created a Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS team called “Dashing for Dottie.” Friends and family made T-Shirts and signs and have been walking for 12 years to raise needed funds and awareness for the ALS cause.
Carol continued to be involved. She became one of the Chapter’s Community Ambassadors and attended events in the Lehigh Valley area to educate people about ALS.
Then Carol learned about the Chapter’s Visiting Volunteer program. As a Visiting Volunteer, Carol has become friends with other people living with ALS. After seeing her sister struggle with the disease, Carol understands how important it is to provide kindness and patience to those living with ALS every day. She is now a Visiting Volunteer for people with ALS like Sarah Brendle of Pennsburg, PA and provides companionship and friendship.
“Carol has become more than a visiting volunteer to my family and me. We consider her a true friend. She is kind and dependable. Even when life gets hectic, she finds time to check in, visit and accompany me to appointments.” – Sarah Brendle
In addition to her role as a Visiting Volunteer, Carol has joined Sarah in ALS advocacy. Each spring, Carol and advocates from across Pennsylvania speak to state legislators in Harrisburg about the need for more funding for ALS care. Now she carries with her not just her sister’s story, but also the stories of ALS families she has helped since her sister’s passing. Thanks to ALS advocacy efforts, the legislature has continued to increase funding for ALS care each year. It is proof that Dottie’s ALS story continues to make an impact.
Carol’s broad range of volunteering honors her sister’s memory. Dottie refused to quit, and Carol carries that spirit with her each day. Her commitment to the ALS cause is unwavering. The ALS Association is forever grateful to Carol Kidd for being a true friend to those whose lives are forever changed by ALS.