Why This Matters

A minute and a half video of dad and I is all of a sudden plastered all over the internet. At first we were excited about getting 100 likes on Facebook and having people call us out in their videos, then a few days later dad bursts into tears because he sees his face and his message on the Huffington Post. The ice bucket challenge is social media activism reaching unprecedented levels, and I’m witnessing it all first hand. Not only are ALS organizations across the nation receiving massive increases in donations, but the Palko family is as well. Complete and total strangers are reaching into their pockets to help out a family they don’t even know. Strangers are reading this right now because of the amazing power of social media. In the past week my inbox has been flooded with hundreds of messages from people who saw the video and had something nice to say, some information to share, a story to tell. About 100 of those messages came from people whose lives are directly affected by ALS. Dozens of those are sons and daughters of parents who are suffering from ALS or who have already passed from it.

Before all of this social media madness, I didn’t know anybody else in my shoes. I have amazing support and incredible friends, but nobody quite understood what it’s like to be experiencing this. And now, thanks to our video going viral, I’ve been in touch with other people who know exactly what I feel like. They know how hard it is to leave home and go to college when your parents are home suffering. They gave me a hint to call my dad’s cell phone and let it ring through to his voicemail so I hear the message he recorded a few years ago and remember what his voice used to sound like. They have stories about their dads running wheelchairs into walls. I feel less alone.

Now what would the internet be without comments of criticism? To those suffering from drought on the west coast, I sincerely wish I could give you all the water that’s been pouring down on the east coast. I wish all of these buckets dumped over people’s heads could be dumped over your gardens, farms, and rivers. Maybe we can start dumping buckets of sand over our heads to raise awareness and demand action for drought and climate change. My entire academic life is devoted to environmental studies, so I would be thrilled if the next big social media campaign targets these drastic problems.

For those who are annoyed with the ice bucket challenge taking up your news feed and for those who think this really isn’t doing anything, I first want you ask you if you knew about ALS before this happened. If you did, great! If you didn’t, well now you do! This disease is receiving more attention than it’s ever gotten. ALS organizations across the nation have received millions of dollars over the past couple days. Those donations will be channeled into research that will hopefully figure out this disease. Because right now there is almost nothing known about ALS. We don’t know how it’s caused, we don’t know how to treat it, and we sure as hell don’t have a cure. This matters because maybe one day you or your father or mother or the love of your life will be diagnosed with ALS. It will be the most terrifying diagnosis you ever receive. Because your life might end up looking like this. Because you will learn that you have about 2-5 years to live. You will see your hands stop working, your legs stop walking, your voice stop talking, your breathing disappearing. But your brain will still function perfectly and it will have to process how insanely debilitating and depressing it is to watch your body slowly turn to mush while your loved ones surround you in confusion and sadness.

Here in the Palko house we have good days and bad days, just like everybody else. We laugh when the dogs jump up on dad’s wheelchair, drink good beer, and watch Jimmy Fallon. But sometimes we have really, really bad days. My mom’s birthday was earlier this week. When she left to go on an hour walk with her friend, the first time she’s been able to leave the house and do something for herself, dad and I were alone to decorate and prepare her birthday dinner. As I scurried around the house trying to get everything in order, I stepped into dad’s room to find him quietly crying. I ask what’s wrong and he says he just wants to help. He begins to sob, I begin to sob. We laugh at each other crying and then cry some more. He just wants to set the table, to hang some streamers, to sign her birthday card and buy a gift for my mother. My incredibly strong, amazing mother, who works tirelessly to make sure we keep a roof over our heads and wheelchair ramps under our feet. Who serves as dad’s arms and legs. Who gets up 3 times every single night to go downstairs to check on him, flip him over in bed, adjust his covers. Who drives him multiple times a week to Boston so he can work with physical therapists and blow doctors away by walking more than they expect. My mother is the most under-recognized person in all of this, and we would be nothing without her.


But she’s tired. We’re all tired. We’re sad, confused, frustrated, aggravated, and exhausted. We fall into fits of uncontrollable crying because this is hard, but life is hard. It’s hard for everybody on this planet. Every day we remain alive is a damn miracle. It’s overwhelming to see what’s going on in the world. I wake up to news about Israel and Palestine, an immigration and refugee crisis at our border, blatant racism alive and well in our country, California being sucked dry, Robin Williams dead…

Everybody is just trying to survive on this planet. And while life is hard and overwhelming, we survive. Because the human spirit is strong and triumphs adversity. There is tremendous good in the world. I’m seeing it right now. Friends, family, and complete strangers are reaching out to show they care. I wake up to messages of people saying how inspired they are to help, how they donated despite having almost no money in their bank accounts, how they offer words of comfort and solidarity in a struggle that once seemed impossibly tough, now seems possible. I find strength and courage and hope in these people’s words. They encourage my family and me to be brave and set an example others facing challenge. Good acts propel this world forward; whether it’s saying one nice thing to somebody who needs to hear it, volunteering, protesting for a cause you believe in, being a friend to someone with depression, or donating money to help fight ALS or any other cause that’s important to you. People are always looking for stories that ‘restore their faith in humanity’. How about doing something every day so that your faith in humanity is constant and doesn’t need restoring. Live compassionately, and in the words of one of my heroes Neil deGrasse Tyson, lessen the suffering of others. Whatever you do to help another person survive on this crazy planet is doing good for not only them, but for you too.

The ice bucket challenge will probably die down soon, but our fight with ALS is just beginning.  Now that so many people are more aware of ALS and these organizations have some money, maybe we can start some groundbreaking studies to help find a cure. The progression of science and the medical world have accomplished incredible feats. We’ve eradicated deadly diseases, prevented viruses, treated cancers, cured illnesses. Now it’s ALS’s turn. Let’s turn this terminal illness into a treatable one.

I hope more than anything that dad’s 8 million stem cells kick in and the next video to go viral is of him skiing or surfing again. Or of Pete Frates tossing a baseball to his expected child, or Steve Gleason throwing a football back in the stadium where he belongs. I hope it’s a video of a person dying of ALS all of a sudden able use their arms again to hug their families and use their own voice instead of a computer’s to say I love you.

When that video comes out, you will look back and remember why the ice bucket challenge mattered.



50 thoughts on “Why This Matters

  1. Claudia Gordon

    You and your family are simply amazing. Thanks for sharing … you are not alone and Heartworks RI will remain by your side. [Hugs]

  2. Tim Hain

    This is a beautiful message, and I loved your video. Thank you for helping to put a human face to the disease. I lost my grandfather to ALS fourteen years ago. It has been many years, but my eyes still tear up when I think about the pride he took in walking down a short hallway under his own power the last time I saw him.

    Your family seems wonderful, and you are helping to do great things to help promote ALS. Thank you so much.

  3. Shane Moon

    I am so happy that the ice bucket challenge is getting recognition all around the world. You are not alone in this fight … God bless you and your family.

    Best Wishes,
    From Korea

  4. Chris Silva


    Your words are beautiful, touching, and real. You are truly an inspiration to all who are going through a struggle with a loved one who is fighting for their life. I wish I had half of your insight and strength when my mother was fighting cancer. Stay strong and cherish the support you’re receiving. Your mom has always tirelessly supported the community we live in and it’s awesome to see that community and beyond now supporting your family. Kind thoughts and prayers are being sent your way ♡

  5. Teresa

    Dear Gabby, I am so moved by your story. What a wonderful writer you are. My heart goes out to you and your family. God Bless. Xo
    Teresa from California

  6. Kris Willis

    Wow! You truly are amazing and such a gift to your parents. Thank you for sharing – many prayers to you and your family! Your dad is incredibly strong and you mom – incredible strength and love she has

  7. Patti Stuart

    Oh wow. Just got home from doing a group ice bucket challenge with my 21 year old autistic daughter and found a USAFA classmate (’87) sent me your article. My heart is breaking for your struggle. I cannot imagine what that would be like to have your body betray you like ALS does. I am a huge Yankee fan from NJ so I have long known about ALS but have never read a description of daily living like yours. I am so glad this challenge has brought ALS research and fundraising to the forefront. My prayer is that it will lead to break throughs. I pray it will keep people (me!) more open to how we can help families dealing with this devastating diagnosis. And I will be praying for your Dad. God Bless and give you all strength.

  8. Karen Sweitzer

    God bless you all for working so tirelessly to bring ALS into the spotlight. My family has been thru this journey TWICE. It is a very horrible disease that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My second husband, and his mother both passed early from the ALS disease. ALS is only about 15% hereditary, and the type they have is. I pray for my daughter that it doesn’t surface in her. I pray for a cure for all people. God Bless you and your family. It’s a tough journey, but one you will not regret going thru with your dad. Enjoy every moment that you can. . even the tiniest of blessings.

    1. Butch

      So here I am over an hour later after reading blog entries, learning about your journey, and being thoroughly inspired by your perspective on life, your mother’s tireless commitment to your dad, and the utter optimism that pervades your writing. I’m humbled as I’ve lived through three lifetimes of heartache resulting from choices and wrong perspective and pride…reading has certainly reminded me of that which is important and those things that are enjoyable about the difficult realities of life.

      Thank you for sharing…I look forward to continuing to follow you on this journey.

      Peace and love.

  9. Jerry and Aurora Perkins

    Kreg and Family,

    We are praying and cheering on the entire Palko Family. Jerry graduated with Kevin Palko from USAFA and knows Kreg from those Academy days. Our daughter Victoria, who graduated with Kyle has done the ice bucket challenge and we have all donated to the cause. Keep the faith and know that you are in our thougths and prayers. Keep Fighting Kreg!!

    Jerry ’86, Aurora, Victoria’14 and Daniel Perkins ’15

  10. Elaine

    Dear Gabby

    Thank you very much for sharing. I’ve seen lots of bucket challenges over the past week and yours and Kreg’s touched me the most. All the best to you and your lovely family.


  11. Kelly Symes

    Your words just restored my faith in humanity…after happily doing the ice bucket challenge, I was feeling discouraged and annoyed that none of the people I nominated took up the challenge. One later replied to me that he had already done it, which made me feel a little better…but still, no reply from anyone until I sort-of-passive-aggressively whined about it on Facebook. Why is it people will happily tear each other down debating politics but won’t take an opportunity to do something good, something a little silly, something that might bring them closer to others? Then I read your post. And I felt better. I know that all of the people I nominated for the ice bucket challenge are good, loving, sensitive, hard working people. Maybe I just didn’t touch them. Maybe something or someone else will. And that’s ok. Glad I did it. It made me feel good about myself. It did some good. That’s enough. So thank you. And God bless your family and oived ones.

  12. Krista

    God Bless and Watch over You! I, too, shared your link and post as I did not like seeing the criticisms and judgmental comments flowing all over social media. Keep on keeping on! Never give up the fight. Praying and donating for a cure in your Dad’s (and many others’) lifetime.

    As Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society was quoted: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

  13. Craig Bishop

    Hi Gabriella – I saw your video reposted on Facebook and just wanted to send a note of ‘thanks!’ Thanks for taking the time to talk about this. Thanks to you and your dad for showing what it’s like for people affected by ALS – for those who have it and for those who love someone who has it. And thanks for showing such an unbelievable amount of strength and support. I lost my dad when I was 15 to ALS – reading your words really reminded me of the struggle that I went through, and helped me to re-appreciate those moments that I sometimes took for granted.

    Keep your head up – it’s definitely a long road ahead as I’m sure you know. Never be afraid to lean on your support system and never forget to take care of yourself every once in a while too. Thanks again and take care!

    1. Ken Saunders

      Please also pass the along to your Dad – from Greg Bedenis who saw my blogpost yesterday:

      Kreg, Kevin and their family (Mrs. Palko was a substitute teacher at OL Smith) are everything good that I remember growing up in Dearborn. Family focused, honest, hard working people striving to achieve the best for themselves and the community. Kreg is us and we are Kreg. God’s grace to Kreg in his fight.

  14. Tamara

    After I dried my eyes, I wanted to reach out to you Gabby from Canada. My father law lost his battle in 2012 with ALS and it was the hardest thing to watch. Over two years he had lost 80 pounds, could barely eat, barely walk but refused to give in.

    The last day I saw him I kissed him on the forehead and knew it was the last time I would see him. He was gone 2 weeks later. It was so painful to watch him be fully aware yet his body was giving out on him.

    Draw strength from your family, from your love for your father and savour EVERY LAST MOMENT.

    You are not alone. You are surrounded by the love of us all.


  15. Samantha Everman

    What a beautiful thing this ice bucket challenge is doing , America is coming together and helping out and having a fun time! My friend nominated me and I was so proud and honored to except this challenge . Thank you for sharing your story and keep on smiling!

  16. Kelliann Bazemore

    I loved your video of the ice bucket challenge. My father lost his battle with ALS in 2010. I know where ever he is now, he is watching all his family members and friends douse themselves with ice water and laughing hysterically! I was the primary caregiver for my father along with my 4 siblings and several paid and unpaid friends and family. It takes a village to care for an ALS patient. We had many funny times and many sad times but laughter was always apart of the process. This is why the ice bucket challenge is so wonderful, everyone laughs. Cherish the time you have with your father and NEVER give up hope. Enjoy and remember all the little things you do together. You and your family are in my prayers.

  17. Che Russell


    Greetings! I’m not sure if Kreg remembers me from USAFA? Thank you for sharing. Thoughts and prayers to all of you. God is good through each of you:)

    In God’s peace & love,
    Che Russell
    USAFA Class of ’88

  18. Rob Harris

    Thank you for sharing this. My brother John lost a great friend to ALS earlier this year, and this disease is almost incomprehensible in the suffering it extracts from those who have it, as well as from those who love them. But I’m sure you already know this.

    Finding the words to describe the swirl of emotions going on inside of you now is a miracle in itself. But now that you’ve done that, and shared it with anyone who wants to read it, you’ve created something that can help anyone who needs encouragement and support.

    All the best to you and your dad.

  19. Michelle

    This will be shot and sweet, but your words brought tears to my eyes. I’m a nurse and know how hard this disease is on everyone that surrounds the patient as well as the patient themselves. Thank you for sharing your family’s pain and passion with the world and I pray that the stem cells kick in and kick ALS out!

  20. kris miko jurka

    Hello Gabriella, I ended up sharing your blog/post on my Facebook page. You are amazing and have touched my heart. While my heart is still hurting, I would not change any of the time I spent as my dad’s caregiver last year. I pray constantly for a cure or anything to stop the progression of the disease. Here’s what I posted along with your blog.

    Thank you Gabriella Palko for writing such a fabulous blog that pretty much explains why the ICE bucket challenge is important. The smallest and simplest effort by so many people DOES make a difference in the world!! Each time I hear something about the challenge, I think of all the awareness it creates and think about it…Lou Gehrig died in 1941. Until dad was diagnosed, I didn’t know what ALS truly was, the round the clock care required, the costs involved or how debilitating it would be. Loss of privacy and independence came with fear and knowledge of the impending death sentence always lurking. Take time to read what Gabriella writes, she even addresses my own thoughts of guilt, as each one of us probably has something we’re dealing with so why all the attention on ALS? But I truly am so appreciative for the awareness and for the research being funded. I can always tell by a person’s reaction when I tell them my dad died of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, as to whether they know what it is or not. I prefer no one has to find out but maybe knowing and learning will foster a future cure. Eventually the hype will end, but for now I’m enjoying our country rallying with humor and compassion over a disease no one should have to witness ever. Over 9 million has been raised so far. I pray for research to not only find a cure but also to discover the cause. Thank you also all of you who did the challenge and for anything you were able to donate. I’m thinking they went hand in hand!!

  21. Jay Liwanag

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an amazing person with a great spirit. I hope with the help of many and increased awareness we will find a cure. In your post, you are right, your mother deserves a lot of credit for being the rock that she is. But you too are amazing and the love and support you show your dad and family is inspiring. My thoughts and prayers will be with your dad, you and your family. As they say in TEAM….Together Everyone Achieves More!!! – Everyone please continue to donate, your donations can make a positive difference. BTW…I think you are at Colorado College from your post, my wife is an alum there. Stay strong and sending positive vibes.

  22. Richard Roehl

    Thanks for the blog and the great pictures of your parents (they’re cute).
    I think you should have more confidence/faith in the stem cell therapy.
    All the best to your dad (think of him often) …and your mom,
    Richard Roehl

  23. Adela Felag

    Remarkable account of what is happening. You and your family are wonderful people. You all hold a dear place in my heart. Positive thoughts and prayers for your family are part of my daily routine.

  24. Enrica

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. Your story and your family are an inspiration and I found myself tearing up while reading your words though I do not even know you. There’s nothing “good” in ALS per se. But your ability to analyze this absolutely saddening experience in order to not reduce it to mere “bad” and tragedy, but to turn it into a chance to do good is truly amazing. Not everybody can “extract” good from bad. Your mom and dad, and your friends, are lucky to have you. I apologize for the insufficiency of my words but some things just go beyond the human ability to express them in a way that does them justice. May all these donations increase your dad’s chances for a recovery, which he for sure deserves. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, all the way from Italy.

  25. Denise Casagrade

    You nailed it on the head. Your article was beautifully written and I think something that everyone should read. Yes maybe this fun challenge won’t help all, but it will help someone, and by spreading the word, it gives people who are diagnosed with ALS and their families hope. The cold water challenge spread through my town in June, and we had a great time doing it, raising awareness for a prominent member of our community. This whole challenge reminds me of one of my favorite stories, and I hope you read it and take it with you. God Bless you and your family <3

    A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
    Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

    As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

    The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,"I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. "But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference."
    The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,
    "I made a huge difference to that one!"

  26. Jade Rouzeau


    Your words are beautiful and perfectly convey what families with loved ones affected by ALS. My grandmother suffered and ultimately passed away with ALS. Our family watched in abject horror as her faculties literally turned to mush around her sharp mind and vibrant personality. It was horrible to watch.

    Thank you for starting the #icebucketchallenge and for being an advocate for this cause.

  27. Patti Bookless


    So beautifully written, tears on my cheeks while reading what every day life has become for your dad and family. I worked at the ENT Center before it opened until we moved away from Barrington a few years ago.
    Wishing so much I still lived there to be of assistance to your family.

    I very much enjoyed seeing Kreg at work and social events. He did not exactly appreciate Curious George decals in the admitting area and some of the other nurses and I still laugh about that. Seriously, I have always respected and admired him.

    I pray for your dad and family every day. May the stem cells aid his fight against this terrible disease. Thank you for bringing awareness to a disease that not many people know about and sharing your dad’s story. You and your family show what compassion, courage and love are all about.

    Please let your Dad know I am thinking about him.

    Patti Bookless

  28. Mark Felag

    God bless you all! There is so much I want to say but can’t find the words. I always feel very welcomed around Kreg and your family and glad for the warmth and friendship that you have shown. I am amazed at your strength and determination in this fight. I hope Kreg and your family win this fight!

  29. Jessica

    I can’t say that I am not jealous at the outpouring of support (financial) you’ve been given, but I can say that I know that no amount of money, kind words, thoughts or prayers can ease the stress you and your mom go through on a daily basis. My husband has ALS. He has a rare form. Most people look at me like I am crazy when I say it, hardly anyone has heard of it and if they’ve heard of it, they don’t know a thing about it. The ones that have heard of it, only reference it as being Lou Gherigs. The part that hit home most in this post here is the part about no one really knowing. I never thought to make a blog about the struggles a wife goes through and it is a really good perspective to see what you go through. We have 2 daughters .

    I wonder if all those negative nelly’s are the same about all that stupid cancer awareness stuff that goes on that REALLY means nothing. No one is donating money or raising awareness by saying your bra size or what color panties you are wearing.

    The fact of the matter is, Lou Gherigs is real. ALS kills. It is similar to cancer in that way, except there are no treatments available that actually can “put it in remission”. We need to keep getting the word out. I didn’t hear about this ice bucket challenge until yesterday and the video of you and your dad won’t play for some reason. I opened huffington post and it just isn’t there. Bringing awareness to this disease and to researchers is a very important step in making sure that perhaps my grand children and/or great grandchildren, may not have to suffer.

    It is very difficult for me to see all this constant fundraising for Cancer, and nothing for ALS. Just once, I’d like to see a celebrity on Celebrity Apprentice play for ALS cause. I’d like someone to understand what we go through. We don’t have the opportunity for the Stem Cells here either. I will look for more posts to see how it helps your Dad. Please know that no matter your grief, you are not alone. There is always someone out there, looking for someone else that is going through what they are. I feel alone a lot, I just haven’t found someone going through what I go through. Please give your Mother a big hug and tell her a stranger from Washington State says to hold on tight and know she’s not alone. *HUGS*

  30. Frank Nestor

    I read your blog and wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading it. I lost my mother to this disease in 2000. She lived with it for over 7 yrs. Like you and your mother are doing for your dad, my sisters did for my mother. My mother lived in San Antonio, Tx. my three sisters live there as well. I live in El Paso, Tx. which is a 9 to 11 hr drive. I did not help like my sisters did. They also had one thing I did not have which was support. For those reasons, I am FOREVER grateful to my three sisters and their husbands. Like you mentioned you have good days and bad days. I know my sisters had the same because I would hear it from them from time to time. They did remember one thing, they were there to make my mom as comfortable as they can for as long as she was with us.

    When I was there with my mom, I did what I could to help my sisters and mom as best I could. There were a lot of things I could not do for. I remember the times I wanted to talk with her and I wanted to hear her voice, but that was not going to happen. My sisters and mother would communicate with my mom’s eyes and verbal response from my sisters. They had a 5 line sheet which they used to spell out words. My sisters were so good at it It usually only took them two to three words before they knew what exactly what my mom wanted. My sisters had lots of stories about their experiences with my mom. I would laugh so hard of all the stuff they had experienced with her. They were such special memories for them. You will have those and you will never forget them. Like your “ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE” video. The love and smile on this video is so special, You have no idea right now how much, but you will later in life. It brings me many tears writing this because I know how special it is and how much you will appreciate it later.

    I have one experience, I always will remember. I hope you do not mind me writing about it. I miss all the small things, like her looking at us, talking, smiling and laughing. It my not seem special, but for me, it is a memory I will never forget and I always tell. One day I was sitting with my mother. She was sitting in her recliner and I in a chair next to her. We were watching one of her TV shows. My sister was going to the store and wanted to know if my mom or I wanted anything. My mother didn’t and since I was in San Antonio, for me, having a Big Red soda was a treat that always made me feel like I was home. She came back and handed me the soda. (At the time my mother was being fed through a tube. So she could not eat because she could choke on the food. Drinking liquids was hard, but she was still able to do that.) So there I am with my mom watching TV. I am drinking my soda from a bottle. Then I felt like some one was staring at me. I looked towards my mom and I saw her staring at me. I ask her, “Mom, you need anything?” with two blink of her eyes, which meant yes, (one blink was “no”). So I started to look at the paper with the 5 lines and was starting to look for what I thought she might want. But the stare turned from me to the bottle of soda I was holding. So, I guessed and asked her, “Mom did you want some soda?” Then this is one of those moments I will always treasure, She looked up at me and gave me a huge smile. For I know she loves Big Red soda just like me. I asked my sister, “Mom wants some of my soda, how do I give it to her?” Again the smile from my mom, because she knew she would have to wait just a little longer for her treat. They gave me a straw and told me how to give it to her, what to watch for and how to help her if she chocks. So, we shared the big Red together. She was happy and so was I. Here is more to this story and what I will always remember. My dad and sisters had a lady come to help out from time to time. That night she was helping my mother get ready for bed. So she took her to the bathroom, helped her with potty, bathing, brushing her hair and teeth. When the lady was brushing her teeth, she started to see a lot of red in the tooth paste. The lady thought there was something wrong, so she started to panic. My mom knew what was happening and she started laughing. When my laughed real hard, like she was, it seemed like she was chocking. The lady was seeing this and started to panic even more, but my mom had that smile on her face. The lady called for my sisters, One of them showed up and looked at my mom. She knew by looking at my mom, that everything was OK, although she was laughing really hard. I wish I could have recorded that laugh, because it was funny and I really miss it. My sister asked my mom, if she was OK. She gave the blinking eyes of yes. The lady explained what she was doing and why she was so scared. The look on my mom’s face and the look my sister gave my mom, I will never forget. Big Red soda earlier in the day, and the red was from the residue from the soda. She apologized for not letting her know. She assured her my mom was OK. It is a simple story, but one I will remember forever.

    My sisters are on Facebook, Mary Terry, Patty Chick and Dan Michelle Warren. If there was ever any question or suggestions for how to help take care of your dad, They will be able to give you some guidance. They are the greatest and I owe them more than I can ever pay back, I hope one day they will be rewarded for what they did for my mom. Their family as well, I did not hear anyone of them complain about having my sisters go take care of my mother, and may God Bless them.

    As for me, Like with my sisters, I have a great ear and I am here to help you get anything off your chest. You will need some one like that going forward. I does not have to be me. But find some one you can confide in. You will have times where you will be feeling some things that you will be feeling guilty for having those feeling, but take comfort in knowing you are not the only one who has those thoughts. Your actions are what matters the most. When you have those guilt feelings, let them go. You will not have any reason to feel guilty. The outcome is you and your mom was there for your dad. I was with my mom when she took her last breath, it is the hardest thing I had to deal with, but my sisters remind me it was a gift my mom gave to me.

    God Bless you and your family, I am with in spirit. I will always be praying for your family.

  31. Greg Humitz


    Amazing words from an amazing young lady.
    Like many who have posted here, I know your dad from high school. We played football together.

    He was always the most positive person I knew, so it doesn’t surprise me that follow in his footsteps.
    Your family has many people praying for them.
    Keep up the fight, we are all with you.

  32. Tamara Kotelly Perri

    Kreg you and your lovely family are always in my prayers . And I pray a lot. Best wishes always Tamara Kotelly Perri Kisses

  33. Lidia Pierce

    Dear Gabby,
    We’ll be able to fill out buckets with our tears after reading your blog post. What a terrific writer you are – bringing into sharp focus how painful and tiring a journey this is for your entire family.
    I read yesterday how much the ALS has raised as a result of this ice bucket challenge. And you and your Dad have moved so many to give. You are a strong, intelligent young lady who is changing the world and you’ve only just begun.

    I will continue to pray for your Dad and for your Mom – the unsung hero – and for the entire Palko family.

    God Bless you.

  34. Lindsay

    Your post is so inspiring, I’m so happy that the ice bucket challenge is getting national recognition and doing exactly what it is supposed to: RAISE AWARENESS! As far as the criticism, the internet is a cruel place where people have the opportunity to hide behind their computers and say things that should never be said. Your father and your family are pillars of hope for so many who are suffering with this awful disease. I wish the best for you and your family, thank you for sharing this with the world! xox

  35. gretchen kudla

    All I can say is I love you guys! Reading your eloquent post brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes, Gabriella you have the determination and intellectual power to make a difference. Elizabeth, you are the wind beneath Kregs wings, and truly an unsung hero for all you do behind the scene. We all know what you do and are awestruck by your strength. Kyle we know it is difficult to be away from your family starting your life after college and know your family is proud of you for following your path in life. KREG PALKO you are a rock star for having to ENDURE all of this, the disease, the pain, and constant dependency on others and now the attention of a viral video. I have always felt our family was special but unsure why, or weather It was just my bond with this crazy clan. BUT at times like this when the world can see how fierce we are, I know we are special because we are fighters…. and we fight the good fight.

  36. Chris Larisa

    Thank you for sharing so honestly what your family have been going through these two+years, putting a face and voice to ALS. Please know that we are thinking about your dad and you guys. We were more than happy to feel those very few seconds of ice cold discomfort to help make others more aware of ALS. It’s been so wonderful to see the groundswell of awareness that the icebucketchallenge is creating for ALS! People can say what they want about it, it’s making a difference!!
    PS: Beautiful TBT pic of your mom and dad!! And WOW, do you look like your lovely mom! Hard to tell who is who.

  37. Susan Stempien

    Hello Palko Family.
    My husband Paul and I went to high school with your Father. He always had a smile on his face and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Your words are so inspiring that I had to read this to everyone at work home and wherever I have been in the past few days. I will continue to spread your words and pray for some relief for ALS..
    Hugs and kisses from The Stemps❤️❤️❤️

  38. Stacy Looney

    Go Gabby! Go Kreg! GO ELIZABETH!
    You’ve been on my mind and in my prayers for a long time. I’m so proud of all of you!
    Much love!

  39. Mary Thomas

    I am so moved by your story. I champion your Father and your Family. I see courage, strength & bravery…. also fear, fatigue & pain. But what I see most of all is HOPE. You know, of course, you are not alone in this fight. God will always be with your family. I will keep you in my prayers.
    I am 80. I took the challenge..
    Faith Hope Love, Mary Thomas

  40. SP

    Damn you guys never fail to amaze me, what an eloquently written and heart warming account of something that couldn’t be harder to deal with. The amount of good that has come from the ice bucket challenge and especially for your family truly instills me with faith in humanity. Complete strangers reaching out and helping one another… it’s beautiful.

    So grateful to have seen this amazing family in action, love y’all

    1. Davis

      your father is blessed to have a wonderful family to support him. The story you have written shows the incredible bond you have with him and the impact He has given you.I Envy the strength and courage he continues to show. This story has certainly put life in perspective for me as I’m sure many others. God bless your Mom,Dad and you always.


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