Community rallies around woman who weeks after learning she is pregnant is diagnosed with ALS


A Connecticut couple is seeking financial assistance and emotional support after receiving the best news of their lives quickly followed by the worst. Amanda and Chris Bernier spent their time, including working together as medical first responders, dreaming about having a baby. When they learned Amanda was pregnant, they were excited to start their life as parents. But just weeks later, they were blindsided with the news that Amanda has ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, meaning that overtime Amanda’s brain will no longer be able to control her muscles. Pregnancy worsens the condition and Amanda has already started losing the ability to move her arms and legs. At some point she will no longer be able to talk, swallow, or breathe.  This will be followed by paralysis and death. There is no cure.

In this devastating time, Amanda and Chris have one hope, one joy. And that is their baby girl. Amanda doesn’t know if she will ever meet her daughter face to face, but she is willing to do what it takes to ensure that despite her own sickness and death, her daughter, nicknamed Peanut, will have life.

According to the Go Fund Me page seeking support for Amanda and Chris, Amanda is 18 weeks pregnant. She has lost 50% of her lung capacity. Just months ago she was a runner and firefighter, but today she is in a wheelchair that doesn’t fit through the doorways in the couple’s 780-square foot home. She is still managing to work as a scientist at a biotech company and Chris is the Chief of Madison, CT Emergency Medical Services but they are struggling to pay the mounting medical bills.

In an effort to support the couple and their fight for both Amanda and their baby, friends and family are asking for donations towards the couple’s medical bills in addition to helping them find a better suited home, and a wheelchair accessible van.

Their Go Fund Me page says this about the couple:

Both Amanda and Chris are known for helping neighbors on their worst days. They do it for no reason other than because helping others feels right. It’s in their blood. They come from long lines of firefighting and first‐responding grandfathers, father, brother and uncles. Saving others is what they do, what they’ve always done and what they know. Amanda and Chris have consistently been the ones who appear; they’re the ones who have shown up gentle and skilled and caring in our dark nights to help us when we’ve called for help.

And now they need us through the days and nights ahead.

Support is pouring in to help the couple and friends have raised over $34,000 so far. But they still have a long way to go towards their goal of $250,000. If you would like to help Amanda deliver her child safely without the stress and worry of medical bills, and give her the chance to meet her daughter, visit their Go Fund Me page to donate.

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