Dyersburg residents rally around teacher battling ALS

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DYERSBURG, Tenn. — The city of Dyersburg rallies around one of its teachers who spent her life serving and now is battling ALS. A benefit was held Saturday to raise money to help her family with medical costs. “I have ALS, and it is a disease that will take every muscle, but it won’t take your mind,” Sarah Alley said. Ms. Alley is a beloved teacher at Dyersburg Middle School. “Interactive, she took all the kids in as her own,” student Whitby Holden said. “She was very lively,” student Maggie McLaurin said. “She always had a smile on her face.” Alley has been teaching for 20 years and was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, five years ago. “You may think why can this woman be so happy?” Alley said. “It’s because I’ve been filled with so much love and so many blessings.” In January, her doctors told her she had to stop working. “Even though ALS has taken from her physically, it has not taken her mind or her spirit,” family member Vanessa Anderson said. Anderson, also a colleague, organized the benefit to help the family with medical costs as the disease inevitably worsens. “It’s really hard to see where she’s come from, to see where she is and to know where she’s going,” Anderson said. Even though Ms. Alley is no longer able to teach in the classroom, she’s still a teacher. Her mission now is raising ALS awareness in her community. “It’s very horrible, but it’s OK. It’s OK, and I’m OK and I live one day at a time,” Alley said. “That’s all we have is one day at a time.” Anderson estimates Saturday’s benefit will raise about $10,000. “She looks at every day as an opportunity to share her testimony and to let people know that as long as you’re here, God has a purpose for you,” Anderson said. Alley said she never saw this in her future but wants God to use her situation to help others. The estimated annual cost for a person living with ALS is $64,000. If you want to donate to the Sarah Alley Fund to help with medical expenses, visit the Seen on 7 section of our website.

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