July 2, 2014
by Carolyn Wolcott
In December 2011, I was diagnosed with ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a nervous system disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When motor neurons die, the brain loses its ability to initiate and control muscle movement. It is a progressive disease and as voluntary muscle action deteriorates, patients with advanced ALS may become totally paralyzed. It is always fatal, typically within two to five years following diagnosis.
I can’t walk anymore and my hands are weakening, but I am still able to breathe, talk, and swallow—and I can whack the heck out of the computer keyboard! Since the thinking part of the brain is generally not affected by ALS, I remain able to perform my work function even though I can’t drive myself to work or take care of “daily functions” at the office.
So AMT and our client (the Virginia Department of Transportation) determined that I was capable of performing my job and did something very much appreciated by this consultant: they worked together to craft a telecommuting agreement that would allow me to continue to support VDOT on the Virginia Megaprojects contract which I have been doing since the Mega team was formed in 2007. I have been a full-time telecommuter since December 2013 and it is working quite well. I use a virtual desktop and conference calling to stay in touch with project team members and activities. Each day, I work hard to fulfill my scope of services, grateful for the unwavering support of my employer and a client who believes in my work product.
As a woman who “will not go gently into the night,” I am working with the ALS Association in my spare time on planning and participating in the local Walk to Defeat ALS. The goal of the Walk is to increase awareness of the disease, and to fund research and patient support. The event will be held on November 1 at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. AMT management and many of my fellow employees have been generous in supporting this event. Thank you very much for that! My team is called Carolyn’s Cohorts, please click if you’d like to support us on November 1.