My name is Leila Darki. I am a co- director of ALS Center of Excellence at USC.
I see every day how ALS affects those I care for and their dedication, love, and good spirits inspire me. I have learned a lot from my ALS patients and their families through this unrelenting journey.
I came to know Shaun when he saw me for left foot weakness in the summer of 2017. I wish I met Shaun and his mother under different circumstances, however, I am grateful to have the opportunity to be his neurologist.
Shaun is strong, brave, and full of love. He has chosen to have a tracheostomy so that he could live to watch Ashton, his son, grow up. I met Ashton only once, but being a parent, I can feel the strong bond between him and Shaun. Ashton is a kind and caring boy.
Shaun’s mom rose to the challenge. Despite, the devastating news, she handled all arrangements immediately. She has provided constant care and emotional support, while also simultaneously accompanying him all his appointments.
Shaun and his loved ones have truly taught me how to enjoy life purposefully and to cherish every moment with the people around you. I have learned to be proactive and to not put my life on hold.
May is ALS awareness month, which is a chance for us all to come together to advocate for ALS patients and their families. Our ALS team at USC is dedicated to providing only the highest quality care to ALS patients and their caregivers. We are devoted to this cause and will not relent until there is a cure.