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    • Cathy Speck

      Columnist, Photographer
    • August 14, 2013 in Columnists, News

    Die Laughing with Cathy Speck: The ALS musical One Woman show


    For many years, Cathy Speck was known for her singing and music, and then ALS spun her life in a different direction. Speck now focuses on raising awareness about ALS, as well as research funds, and while ALS has sapped her strength, her humor and wit are as strong as ever. Her latest project, “Die Laughing with Cathy Speck: The ALS musical One Woman Show,” showcases her message with laughter and love.
    (Photo by Craig Wells)

    Laugh, cry, buy tickets, and help raise awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as well as funds for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) at the one-woman musical show, “Die Laughing with Cathy Speck.” The event takes place on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1-4 p.m. at Trish and Kim Timothy’s, 37687 County Road 18 in rural Woodland.

    Enjoy the show and be part of the cure, and help support ALS TDI, an independent research center with a singular focus: developing effective therapies that slow and stop the progression of ALS.

    “If you’re not laughing yet,” says Cathy, “Don’t worry, you will. Underpants! Are ya laughing yet? If not, this might not be the best fit for you. I use free-ranging gallows humor and music to stay joyful and sane?”

    Speck, the star of the show (which also features six other ALS advocates), was diagnosed with genetic ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease, in 2009. Genetic ALS is extremely rare, and was carried by Cathy’s mother, Dorothy. Some members of the Speck family have the SOD1 genetic mutation, which means all of Dorothy’s children and grandchildren have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutation. The children of Dorothy’s siblings may also be at risk if the parents carry the mutation. ALS has already taken the lives of four members of Cathy’s immediate family.

    ALS affects an estimated 350,000 people worldwide, including children and adults. Most ALS cases are sporadic — anyone, anywhere can get it for no apparent reason. Most patients die within two to five years after diagnosis.

    With ALS, people progressively lose muscle strength until they become paralyzed and can no longer move, speak, swallow and breathe. About 90 percent die from respiratory failure. There is no cure.

    Even before ALS started ravaging the Speck family, Cathy’s friends and acquaintances told Cathy she should write a book about her life — a life filled with love, compassion, devastation, resiliency and plenty of humor and singing. If you’ve never seen Cathy in action — don’t wait. Grab this opportunity to be entertained, informed and awakened before ALS zaps her energy, her ability to speak clearly or sing above a whisper.

    “You will laugh, cry, clap, laugh some more, and before you can say ‘amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’ you’ll discover that not only did you learn about ALS, but you might also feel more comfortable talking about illness, dying, death, grieving and healing. It ain’t all bad — I guarantee it,” promises Cathy. “This multi media show will be life-changing for many of you.”

    “Die Laughing with Cathy Speck” is rated PG for adult topics, including suicide, death and dying, and gallows humor. Don’t forget to bring cash/checks to donate for a grilled burger/veggie bar, chips and salsa, wine, beer, sparkling, water, soda, cookies, popcorn and snow cones.

    Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or folding chairs. Seating is limited, so advance reservations are recommended. Casual attire is suggested, and there will be plenty of free parking. Child care will not be provided. The suggested donation online and at the door is $20, but higher amounts are greatly appreciated.

    For more information about the event and to make donations, go to:  http://community.als.net/dielaughing, and click on the “Donate” box.

    Those interested in raising even more funds for ALS research can sign up at the event to to join Cathy’s team, The Specktaculars, for the ALS Walk-a-Thon on Saturday, Oct 5. Walk team T-shirts will also be available at this event.

    For advance reservation for “Die Laughing with Cathy Speck” go to http://community.als.net/dielaughing or call Trish Timothy, (530) 662-7433.


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