May 2022 
by Mark and Pam Elsey

The most popular place to see the Northern Lights in the United States is Alaska, but what do you do when you don’t want to fly? The Northern Lights are sometimes visible in Northern Minnesota. It’s not common, but it does happen. Mark Elsey always wanted to see the Northern Lights – so Minnesota it is! Team Gleason was more than happy to send him on a winter Adventure.

Our favorite part of the trip to Minnesota was the beautiful views up north. It snowed part of the time and was just so serene and peaceful. It was a retreat from the normal busy-ness of our lives that we really needed.

It snowed on the way up there, and then there was a winter weather storm on the way back down, so driving through that was challenging! Also, there was a couch underneath the Murphy bed at the hotel, and I could not get the Hoyer lift under it, but we learned the second day that the couch could be moved, so all was well.

The most memorable part was the beautiful views from our hotel windows at the East Bay Motel in Grand Marais, Minnesota, right on Lake Superior. We also enjoyed a day trip together up to Thunder Bay, Canada. And, of course, we laugh at our efforts to see the northern lights, because it was cloudy most of the time we were there, and freezing cold when we went outside at night. We never saw them, but we had fun trying!

This adventure meant more to Mark than words could ever really say. Steve Gleason’s desire to keep living a full life with ALS, and to encourage and support others like Mark to continue doing the same, has brought so much purpose and even joy to our lives, even while we navigate this very challenging disease.

Team Gleason also helped Mark preserve his voice for his speech device, which means so much to those of us who still get to hear it, even after he has lost his voice.

Team Gleason also paid for his wheelchair mount for his speech device, purchased a shower chair for him, and provided some smart devices for our home.

It means so much to have a person and an organization truly understand what we are going through, and just as importantly, to help us through it. How can we ever thank you enough?