PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Minnesotan couple spending the winter in Arizona is having to stay longer than planned as one of them is fighting ALS and traveling during the coronavirus outbreak could turn deadly.
"That's why we came here because the cold weather in Minnesota is very hard for ALS patients," explained Diane Ward.
Diane's husband of 15 years, Brad, was diagnosed with ALS in September. The couple was planning on moving back to Minnesota at the end of April. Now they think they'll be here until July 1.
"We planned on doing a lot more vacation-type things when we were here and last month or so we haven't been able to do too much," Diane said.
Once Diane and Brad heard about the COVID-19 outbreak, they stopped going out--long before any stay at home orders from officials.
"It could easily kill him. Easily. If it affected his lungs--he already has some problems breathing at night and so forth and it could easily kill him. Easily," Diane said.
To make matters worse, the two had to quit their jobs to manage the ALS symptoms that will inevitably appear.
"We're paying rent here in Phoenix and we're also paying a mortgage at our home in Minnesota. So it's been tough financially for us and emotionally because of the disease," Diane said.
The couple is staying in an apartment in north Phoenix, with only a few furniture items.
"Living here in Phoenix and we--as you can see--I don't know if you can tell, we're sitting on our furniture right now, which is lawn chairs," Diane explained. "We watch a lot of TV. Seems like Brad likes to listen to music on his cellphone. He likes to play solitaire on his cell phone."
Diane only leaves the home for quick grocery runs. When she returns, she wipes down the food items and changes her clothes immediately. However, like many people, she had trouble finding some essential supplies. She turned to her new neighbors on the Nextdoor app for help.
"One time I asked for a Lysol spray, I got two bottles delivered to me. For Clorox wipes, I got four containers delivered to me," Diane said. "It's just amazing how wonderful people that you don't even know are willing to help out."
Diane is now asking for a mask or material to make one, as she doesn't have those supplies with her.
"When we came from Minnesota, we just pretty much took what we could fit in our vehicle," she said, explaining they could never predict this pandemic or a need for mask-making materials.
However, what the Wards need most, comes from the heart.
"What is our biggest need? Caring of people, family, prayers for his ALS to subside," said Diane.
If you would like to help the Wards, you can reach Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.