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Courage in the face of medical adversity

We are in awe of the bravery and resilience demonstrated by the Stevens, Shannon and Payne families as they faced, and continue to face, medical adversity.

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Before he became president, John F. Kennedy wrote a best-selling book, “Profiles in Courage,” in which he profiled U.S. senators who took courageous stands during times of political adversity.

In recent days, Sauk Valley Media stories profiled area residents who have shown courage in the face of medical adversity.

A story in Saturday’s paper told of Dustin Stevens, of Amboy, a 27-year-old who suffered a severe brain injury 9 years ago. Unable to speak and with limited movement, he has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.

It also told the story of his mother, Becky Pollard, and family members whose lives became focused on caring for Dustin and trying to promote awareness of brain injuries.

A story in Monday’s paper told of two families devastated by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The family of Josh Shannon of Sterling mourns his death last year at age 32 from ALS.

The Payne family of Amboy has struggled with ALS for decades. Over the years, 19 family members have died of ALS; three members currently struggle with it, including Doug Payne, 51, who was diagnosed 2 years ago.

For those who don’t know, ALS, which cripples its victims’ ability to move their muscles, is terminal and has no cure.

Payne family members have fought back against ALS by getting involved in extensive fundraising and advocacy efforts.

We are in awe of the bravery and resilience shown by the Stevens, Shannon and Payne families.

To us, their stories represent modern-day profiles in courage that rival anything you can find in JFK’s book.

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