Team Gleason gives man the chance to see his mom after nine years

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:50 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A nonprofit working to improve the lives of people living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has given a man in the Winchester area the opportunity to plan the trip of a lifetime.

ALS is a nervous system disease that weakens the muscles and impacts physical function. Right now, there is no known cause or cure.

Marcus Cohan was diagnosed with ALS in 2013. That’s also the last time he saw his mom, but in just a few days they will be reunited again. A wish come true thanks to Team Gleason.

Cohan said he started to realize something might be wrong back in 2013 when he had a weird feeling in his right leg.

“When I would walk, you would actually, like freeze up like I didn’t know how to walk,” Cohan said.

Tremors and severe cramping in his legs were also some signs that led him to go to the doctor. After several appointments with neurologists, Cohan got the diagnosis.

“I remember the day like it was yesterday when he told me... I think it was shock. I couldn’t hear anything. It was weird, and I was extremely scared,” Cohan said.

Since then, each day has been a new challenge, but he said having his best friend, Paula, by his side has made it easier.

“She’s been a tremendous help. I thank God for her that I am fortunate because she is a professional caregiver, too,” Cohan said.

Throughout the years, Cohan has received an outpouring of support from friends and organizations like Team Gleason. It is giving him the chance to go anywhere in the world.

“I said I want to go see my mom because my mom has just turned 93.. It’ll be great. I can get up out of the chair, but people would have to hold me up, but I promised my mom I would get up and give her a hug, and I’m looking forward to that,” Cohan said.

And even though Cohan says he is a little nervous since he hasn’t traveled much over the years, he’s excited to make new memories with the ones he loves the most.

“Be happy. Be grateful for the day that you have right now. That’s what my advice would be to anybody. You’re still here. You can still do things. Do them,” Cohan said.

Cohan and his friend and caretaker, Paula, will take an Amtrak train to Jacksonville, Florida. They’ll be staying in a hotel on Jacksonville beach, and they’ll get to spend about a week with family.

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