By FRED T. ROSSI
For The Leader/Times
SCOTCH PLAINS — The family of a township woman battling ALS is reaching out to the community for assistance with her “astronomical” medical bills — and the response so far has been gratifying.
Carol Rachko’s family says she “has held many titles in her 58 years: devoted daughter, trusted coworker, volunteer for charitable causes, faithful friend, amazing wife, and her most cherished — loving mother.” In each of those roles, her loved ones say, “she has given 100 percent.” In April 2019, however, Mrs. Rachko was diagnosed with ALS, a designation that “comes with myriad new challenges.”
To further complicate matters, Mrs. Rachko, despite working for nearly 40 years, discovered that, due to a loophole in the law, she is not eligible for disability or Medicare, something that has had an impact on her family’s ability to not only keep up with her medical bills but also to purchase medical equipment and day-to-day care as well as renovate their Ramapo Way home to make it more accessible to her. Her family reports that Mrs. Rachko has lost use of her arms and hands, requiring assistance with eating, dressing and bathing.
A website has been set up with a goal of raising $80,000 to help the Rachko family with medical expenses and the costs of renovating their home; as of early this week, nearly $50,000 had been pledged. Donations can be made online at https://secure.givelively.org/donate/hark-als/help-carol-rachko-with-home-accessibility-and-care-as-she-battles-als. Checks can be sent to: Hark-ALS, 5 Pirozzi Lane, Hillsborough, N.J. 08844. Add Carol Rachko’s name to the memo line.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and their ability to control muscles. Each ALS patient’s experience is different regarding muscles that are affected and the speed of progression. Ultimately, ALS patients become prisoners in their own bodies, unable to eat, breathe or move on their own. There presently are no effective treatments or cures for ALS.
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