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Living with ALS: Jack and Cindy Shelton

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Everyday life can wear us down. Whether it's the pandemic, politics, health issues....we all are facing something, every single day. What's that quote?

Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

You know Jack as one half of Waldorf and Statler On the River hosts on Tuesday Mornings. In this conversation*, longtime members Jack and Cindy Shelton talk about their family's challenge: a diagnosis of ALS.

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Our favorite guys - Statler and Waldorf in the peanut gallery from the Muppet Show

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

”Amyotrophic” comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" refers to muscle. "Trophic" means nourishment. So, amyotrophic means "no muscle nourishment,” and when a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away.

When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. When voluntary muscle action is progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.

You can hear our full conversation here.

jack FULL.mp3

And, stay tuned, helper dog Izzy is on the way, we'll check back in with the Shelton's on their new dog and how it is helping Jack and bringing some joy to the family.

*thanks to producer Robert Jevne for his assistance in this story.

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 22 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director where she manages producers, hosts local interviews and programs, oversees and manages web stories and establishes focus areas of programming like phenology, clean energy, Indigenous voices, Strong Women, local foods, clean energy, economic development and more. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota. During the pandemic, Heidi hosted 14 months of a weekly statewide conversation on COVID-19 for the AMPERS network.