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    • #20258
      Dagmar Munn

      I’ve always believed in the importance of having heroes and role models to help me cope with ALS. In fact, I keep a list of names in a special folder titled “ALS Inspiration.” But most of the people on my list don’t even have ALS.

      What they do have in common is that despite their dire circumstances, they dare to have goals and find a way to dig deep to keep moving forward. Inspirational!

      Recently, I watched the newly released documentary “Val,” currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. By the time the final credits were rolling, I knew I had to add actor Val Kilmer to my “ALS inspiration” folder.

      In the film, Kilmer not only shares his personal video collection of behind-the-scenes footage from his days as a 1980s Hollywood heartthrob, but he also shares glimpses of his life today.

      Sure, I enjoyed the trip down movie memory lane. But what really held my attention was Kilmer’s courage and openness to speak with the voice he lives with today.

      His recent throat cancer required a tracheostomy, which forces him to communicate by placing a finger over an open hole in his throat. He has dysarthria. I recognized the gravelly sound, the breathy pace, and the monotone enunciation. My own dysarthria makes me sound much the same.

      Throughout the film, I felt a kinship with Kilmer’s courage to accept the change caused by his medical challenges. To me, this was a perfect example of my ALS coping strategy of “Adapt, Learn, Survive.”
      If you are experiencing any ALS-related voice issues, I recommend watching “Val.” It just may inspire you as well.

      Have you watched “Val”? What did you think of it? I’m interested in learning your thoughts.
      Do you have inspirational role models who don’t have ALS, but live with other health challenges?

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