BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — The kitchen table of Christine Terlesky’s Boardman home is covered with photos of her past, while the cane leaning against the back door represents the future.
“It developed really slowly,” Terlesky said.
It is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Terlesky has it and it eventually will lead to paralysis and zap her ability to breathe. ALS is more commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the former Yankee who died from it.
For Terlesky, the first symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease appeared during Christmas of 2012 with some cramping in her hands. By summer, she he was falling repeatedly.
“It’s really weird. I would tell my legs to go, but they wouldn’t. You know, it was like, ‘what the?’ And I still tried to do it and it still wouldn’t go,” Terlesky said.
Christine Terlersky was born Christine Moschella and is part of Boardman’s first family of basketball. Her father, Ron Moschella, was the Boardman High School girls basketball coach for 31 years and all three of the Moschella girls, including Christine, were integral parts of the program.
She has been surrounded by sports her whole life. Her husband, Brian Terlesky, was a football standout at Chaney and Youngstown State University, while her son Brian is one of the best junior golfers in the country.
Terlesky eventually would teach social studies at Boardman High School, and true to the family name, become the assistant girls basketball coach.
ALS was not supposed to happen to the athletic 41-year-old woman.
“It’s pretty devastating and I was with my family. We do everything together and they came with me and we were all in denial about me having Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Terlesky said.
Concerned she would fall, Terlesky quit teaching and coaching. She has yet to return to the high school that has been so much a part of her family’s life, but said she plans to because she misses the students.
“They’re amazing people. They’re the ones that really kept my head up and made me laugh every day,” Terlesky said.
Though she can still operate her cell phone, her hands are feeling the effects of the disease. Getting dressed has become a chore.
But she refuses to dwell on what’s inevitable and instead is focusing on her husband and three children, including sons Brian and Tyler and daughter Emma.
“One of the things I try not to do is look too far into the future. So I’m taking it one day at a time. But at the same time, knowing that we’re going to have to make changes to our life. Like we’ll probably have to change our house and get ready for the future without dwelling on it because it’s too overwhelming,” Terlesky said.
There are some stem cell trial programs that she is trying to get into, but so far she has been unsuccessful. They even looked into traveling to Italy for treatment, but that didn’t work either.
A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is being held in her honor Sunday at Boardman High School from noon to 6 p.m. Organizers said 3,000 tickets already have been sold.