I am Irene Mitossis, the middle child and daughter of Dimitra Mitossis, and I started Team Nektarios in honor of my mother. 2023 is the first time my family and I are participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS. Two years ago, my mom went to see our family’s primary doctor for what seemed to be muscle aches and a slight limp. At the time, it was unalarming and didn’t raise any red flags. Then, at 53, in April of 2021, my mom was diagnosed with Familial ALS, which is incredibly rare. This diagnosis utterly shocked my family and left us with so many questions. My great-grandmother on my mother’s side was diagnosed with ALS in the 80s. I, unfortunately, never had the chance to meet her. At first, I was overwhelmed with fear of the unknown. However, with all of the advancements and treatments available today, we are hopeful and eager to see the day that ALS becomes a livable disease. The treatments, brilliant doctors, and supporters who donate to the ALS Associations give our family the belief that my mom will DEFEAT ALS.
In my heart, I know my mom is aware of how much my family and I love her, but I wanted to give her a visual representation of our support. So, I wondered what I could do to show my mom the same unconditional love and support she has given me all my life. With one quick google search, I found the ALS Association, Walk to Defeat ALS Seaside. Without second-guessing, I picked up my cell to call my siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles and registered my whole family. Everyone was on board. Then, it was time to let my parents know. Our family is private and tight knit. For a year, the immediate family and her first cousins were the only ones who knew of my mom’s diagnosis. This walk has given my mother the courage and voice to share her story outside the realm of our family. I’m in awe of my mother’s strength, faith, and vulnerability, for this is not easy information to share.
My mom is rare, before and after her ALS diagnosis.
My mother is the most gentle, selfless, and loving mother there is. There isn’t a day that I don’t feel her love. She supported my siblings and me throughout our years in all our endeavors. I will never forget that she sat on the bleachers for every one of our basketball and softball games, dance competitions, and wrestling matches. She was my personal tutor when schoolwork got too hard and the most creative person to look to when I needed help with school projects. We spent endless hours on the couch reviewing my Greek School lessons to ensure my pronunciation was on point. From a young girl, I always believed there was nothing my mom couldn’t do, and this belief has not wavered.
As my siblings and I got older, my mom decided to share her endless love with others and started to work at daycare. From the stories she told, I could tell the littles ones shared similar trust and love with her as well. She brought home projects to make, and I was always willing to help her create welcoming classroom art. Somewhere along the way, I followed in my mom’s footsteps and started working in a daycare. I brought home projects and created decorations for my classroom, just like my mom. Every time I do so, I can see the memories of working with children flood in. In addition, when the pandemic hit, our family’s diner needed extra help, and my mom came to the aid for a year until her diagnosis. She may have stopped working, but she never stopped being the most caring mom, aunt, and godmother.
Mom, I made this team to show you all the people who support you on this journey. To give you a voice when you were fearful. Most importantly, to let you know that all the years you stood by Regina, Yanni and my side and supported us never went unnoticed. It’s our turn to return that support to you. Our family, friends, church members, and neighbors have been gracious in their donations, all in support of the cause to Defeat ALS and to support you defeating ALS… I love you always and am blessed to call you my mom.