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BENNINGTON -- Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders officially signed on to co-sponsor S1813, a bill directing the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to support research on, and expanded access to, investigational drugs for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

“It’s a good day for us, our family, and for all of those ALS families across the country,” Rebecca Andrews said Saturday. Andrews is the mother of two sons who were lost to ALS over the past year and a half. "I was running around the house, screaming and crying when I heard the news.”

The Andrews family’s story was highlighted in a Banner article that first appeared online Friday. In it, Andrews chronicles her family’s struggle with the disease, the promise she made to her sons to keep fighting to find a cure, and the efforts to get legislation passed that might help families in the same position in the future.

“We are extremely happy that this happened on their birthday weekend, with the Banner article coming out,” Andrews. “This would have made them both so proud of this day. This was a grassroots effort, and it was huge that Sanders came on board. Thank you, Mr. Sanders.”

Andrews knows the work isn’t done, but it’s the beginning of a glimmer of hope on the horizon for her family and thousands of others.

“On a personal, black and white level, this can save my husband and my daughter’s life, and those beautiful granddaughters we have who might have to deal with this somewhere down the road, which, God forbid, is a real possibility for us," she said. "This will open avenues for access to treatments that have not been available for this monstrous disease.

“This is not going to bring my boys back. I know that, but if it could save someone else’s life, or spare more parents who might not have to go through this, it’s all worth it.”


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