Carter County

Woman with ALS says she's thankful for local support

Woman with ALS thankful for local support

ROAN MOUNTAIN, Tenn. - Thousands of Americans have taken the ice bucket challenge raising tens of millions of dollars to help fight ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. One woman with the disease in Roan Mountain says she's thrilled by the response, but living with ALS is a struggle every day.

Nickie Strickland discovered she had ALS in April of 2013 after she found herself having difficulty chewing and swallowing. A little more than one year later Nickie sits in the conference room at the Carter County Bank in Roan Mountain - the bank she worked at for over 40 years.

Nickie agrees that just being in the building brings back a lot of memories.

She can no longer speak and uses a walker to help her get around. Nickie writes she's thankful though for the ALS group in the Tri-Cities.

"It provides a place where anyone affected by ALS can come together to laugh, cry, celebrate and mourn. The people are caring, compassionate and loving," she writes.

Brenda Hrivnak's the reason this group exists. As chair for the Tri-Cities walk to defeat ALS, she provides direct services to people living in this area with the disease.

"Typically, the Tennessee chapter, or all the chapters, are responsible for raising their money to provide whatever services they provide," adds Brenda.

And although Brenda appreciates the awareness the ice bucket challenge is bringing, it's not helping the local chapter as much as she thought.

"In general, our numbers are a little bit up, but not to the extent of the national association, that's why I'm here, to encourage people to give locally," she adds.  

And that can help people like Nickie live each day to the fullest.

"I can listen to my favorite music on my iPad since I spend more time sitting. I really enjoy the music," Nickie writes.

The Tri-Cities walk to defeat ALS is on Saturday, October 11th. To create a team for the walk or to donate to the local chapter, go to

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