A woman diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is inspiring many after standing and sharing a dance with her eldest at his wedding, with support from all three of her sons.
Three years ago, Kathy Poirier, 55, was diagnosed with the disease. Ever since, she has lost the use of her arms and legs. She also experiences breathing difficulties, but she still has her voice.
Kathy has three sons: Zak, 28, and twins Jake and Nick, both 27. When her firstborn got married in April 9 to his girlfriend of eight years.
Kathy was determined to stand during the special event.
“I was just so devastated that I wasn’t going to be able to dance with him. We talked about it, and I really wanted to make it happen,” she told The Epoch Times.
Ahead of the big day, Kathy imagined sharing a special mother-son dance moment with Zak.
“I was very worried the day of the wedding … it was very emotional, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way,” she said.
In the tear-jerking moment caught on camera, twins Jake and Nick help lift their mom and support her as she dances with Zak, while their friends and family looked on. All three men were comforting her throughout, telling her, “We’ve got you Mom, don’t worry. We can do this.”
As they danced, Zak told his mother, “I love you.”
Being part of this moment meant a lot to Kathy.
“I had a hard time keeping my tears at bay, but it felt great,” she recalled. “It felt liberating to get up and have a moment like that with my son at a milestone in his life. It was just beautiful.”
Zak and his wedding planner, Valiant Weddings, shared footage of the mother-son dance on Instagram, where it quickly went viral. But Kathy insists the video isn’t about her but a deeper cause.
“The video is about raising awareness of ALS because it’s so unforgiving. There’s not enough awareness. I’m very fortunate; I have family, I have money to spend on treatment. But it’s not just about me, it’s about all the people that are suffering from this disease that need help,” she said.
Kathy was an interior decorator running her own business when she was officially diagnosed with ALS in January 2019. Her initial symptoms were weakness in her hands while working, which she thought was just a pinched nerve. However, further testing proved otherwise.
Despite her condition, Kathy is staying positive.
“I look at it as, I have two options: I can either accept the diagnosis and all that comes with it, or I can accept the diagnosis and fight it. I’m choosing to fight it. I love my life … but I want to live as long as I can,” she said.
Around 30,000 people are diagnosed with ALS every year in the United States, and 90 percent of those are considered “sporadic,” which means it could happen to anyone. There is no known cure for the disease, and doctors estimate that patients will live two to five years post-diagnosis.
Many people with ALS lose their ability to chew, speak, stand, and all muscle control in their neck.
Western medicine provides limited answers, so Kathy has turned to holistic treatments to relieve her symptoms. She has also changed her diet, practices meditation, and attends energy healing, acupuncture, and weekly frequency healing sessions.
Kathy’s twins moved back to their house to help care for her. Nick saw how his mom lost faith amid her diagnosis, but their Catholic faith has helped their family power through the struggles.
“I think having that faith really helps in devastating times like this,” Nick said. “I pray every night to God that my mother will heal. Those unique treatments that my mother has decided to try, it makes her a warrior. She really cares about all of us in her life, and she’s willing to fight the fight for it, for everything. I want to be part of that miracle.”
In honor of his Kathy’s bravery and resilience, Nick gifted her a pearl necklace, which is also her birthstone.
“She is unshakable, not because she doesn’t know pain or failure, but because she always pushes through … she is just like a pearl, made from grit but full of grace,” he said, explaining its significance in his own words.
Kathy believes there is a reason for all she is going through right now.
“I’m not expecting God to heal me overnight; what I think is that God is saying, ‘You are strong enough to handle this disease. Let’s use you to help others and inspire others,’” she said.