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Woman makes mannequins and memories while battling ALS

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 18:25:28-04

From painting to fashion Doneve Booth has always had an eye for detail. Even at 72 - don’t let the wheelchair fool you.

She still has her flair, all this despite living life with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, a neurodegenerative disease affecting cells in the brain and spinal cord.

“I went to the neurologist one day and I said to him 'yeah I’m getting these kind of funny tremors in my arms' and he says to me 'oh… you have ALS,'” she said.

According to the ALS Association, every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with the disease. Booth’s diagnosis came four years ago.

“The brain is working the hands are working as of the moment and it’s a challenge and I need a challenge,” explained Booth.

It was around the same time she found her current artistic outlet: mannequins. They are towering figures covered in intricate mosaics of buttons, coins, keys… you name it - all placed by her hand with dwindling dexterity and with the assistance of loved ones.

“I was sick the whole time I’ve done all of them and it’s pretty much saved me from going crazy, it’s my lifeline and I want people to look at them and remember me,” says Booth.

People like her best friend of more than 40 years Toni Goodman. She reached out to us with Booth’s story, hoping it’ll move others.

Goodman said, “People need to know that inside if you have the courage you can live and it may not be the way you planned or wanted but you can live and she’s making the best of every second that she's here.”

The ALS Association states the average survival time after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years. For Booth that’s enough to inspire.

“I hope I’m getting across to people just don’t give up keep going no matter how hard it is keep friendships keep your family as close as you can,” said Booth.

She's teaching others the importance of time. It’s not how much you have but how you spend it. To find out about ALS and how you can help, visit https://www.als.org/research.

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