The chapter has proclaimed Campbell, 68, and his wife and caregiver, Shirley, 69, and their children the family that best exemplifies the spirit of “ALS Across America” for the chapter during ALS Awareness Month in May. The “ALS Across America” national campaign recognizes courageous individuals with ALS and their caregivers who are role models to people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
These special individuals reflect the spirit of the organization as they make a positive difference in their community by expanding awareness of ALS and embodying the spirit of living life to the fullest.
Campbell and other family members have participated in letter writing campaigns for the chapter and have recruited new advocates to educate the public about Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In addition, he, Shirley, and members of the Campbell family have attended the chapter’s annual “Strike Out ALS” benefit at the Terrance Club at Progressive Field in Cleveland and have participated in five Walk to Defeat ALS events in Cleveland since 2004.
“Pete and Shirley demonstrate the most effective way to manage this disease. They are flexible and accepting," said Brad Sussman, the chapter’s executive director. “They always offer to talk to those who have been diagnosed with ALS via telephone or offer to have others visit them in their home. They help others coping with Lou Gehrig’s Disease negotiate the maze of doctors, funding and critical decisions common to ALS.”
Prior to the Vietnam War, Campbell was stationed in Germany. Some hobbies he enjoyed before ALS impacted his arms and hands included drawing and crossword puzzles. Today, Shirley, a retired private business owner who specialized in house cleaning, assists her husband with his daily living needs. Campbell also relies on a powered wheelchair for mobility.
After Campbell completed his Army stint in Germany, he remained in that country to complete his education. Eventually, he married Shirley, a single mom who had three children. They added to their family with three children of their own.
Sadly, the Campbells lost one son to leukemia and their first daughter to SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. They both have been through many trials and tribulations and still have a very close and strong relationship, marriage, and family.
“Pete always has a smile on his face,” Sussman said. “He has a sense of humor about many things and realizes that he cannot change the way that events have happened, so he laughs about the situation.”
Throughout May, The Association and its nationwide network of 42 chapters will reach out to communities across the country to educate the public about Lou Gehrig’s Disease and urge people to join The Association in the fight to make ALS a disease of the past.
The Association’s National ALS Advocacy Day and Public Policy Conference, which has grown to be the single largest gathering of the ALS community, and is part of ALS Awareness Month, will be held this year on May 10-12 in Washington, D.C. The Campbell family plans to participate in this event on a local level by continuing to spread awareness of ALS.
The ALS Association is the only non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.