February 10, 2020

The flight took ten hours. Risatone, Monalisa, and their kids made it through the flight from Hawaii to Australia safely. And then their teenagers did what they normally do – disappeared with their cousins. Risatisone and Monalisa got to spend most of their time having an absolute blast helping their family get ready for her niece’s wedding.

Risatisone was diagnosed with ALS in 2008.  Monalisa says they haven’t gotten to travel the way they would if her husband was healthy, but they were not letting anything get in the way of attending her niece’s wedding. Her niece is like a daughter to them and has been there to help take care of Risatisone.

Risatisone was not in good shape when they got home from their last trip to Australia.  On that trip, friends and family were able to pool their miles to put them in first class. But on the way back they struggled in coach. So when it was time to go back for a beloved neice’s wedding, they reached out to Team Gleason for help making the trip a little easier.

“He was just so touched to hear the news,” said Monalisa after we were able to step in and help with two first class tickets. The shorter distance from the door to his seat in first class was easier since he has to be carried (he can’t hold himself up in the aisle chair).  Monalisa said the trip was so much easier for Risatisone as a patient, and for her as a caregiver.  Their three teenagers and caregivers were back in coach and made it safe as sound as well.

Once they made it, Monalisa had a great time helping her sister get ready for the wedding.  Her and Risatisone spent most of their time at her house.  The house that was brimming with family every day. “Just having our family around was the fun part for us.”

The wedding day was beautiful. The ceremony was short and sweet.  Monalisa started to get teary when she said, “Seeing my niece walk down the aisle was like seeing my own daughter walk down the aisle. Best thing to see.” 

The trip home was wonderfully uneventful.  We asked Monalisa if she had a message to share after her trip..

“I want people with ALS and other ALS families to know that they can do this, whatever the situation. People with ALS can do this. They can travel. Some people are sick. They think this is too hard. I want them to know they can do it. And with the incredible teams there to help them if they need help or they just want to know how to make it happen, there are people out there who can help. There’s nothing stopping them from what they want to do – to live like they don’t have ALS in their lives. With ALS, they can do anything they want, regardless. Go out. Have fun. Life is too short.”

We can’t agree more.