An Unbreakable Bond

By: Daniel Gonzales
Elizabeth
Elizabeth Crossley and Gerlinde Lindner

Despite being separated by the massive Atlantic Ocean, Elizabeth Crossley was incredibly close to her sister, Gerlinde Lindner. Having grown up in Austria, Elizabeth had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave her home and family to move to the United States with her new husband in 1954. Although thousands of miles separated them, Elizabeth and Gerlinde were always there for each other during difficult times.

In the late 70’s, Gerlinde’s first husband died in a car accident and she was left alone to raise her four young sons. Elizabeth was there to give her sister strength and support, but their greatest battle was yet to come. In late 2001, Gerlinde had dental surgery and experienced slurred speech afterwards. She attributed it to her dental procedure, but the numbness slowly moved down to her arms and legs. Gerlinde eventually received the shocking news in 2002 that she had Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Nobody in her family ever had the disease, so Gerlinde knew very little about it.  “It took awhile before anyone knew what ALS was. I flew to Salzburg, Austria twice to be with my sister and together we learned about the disorder and how to live with it,” recalls Elizabeth.  

In March 2004, Gerlinde lost her battle with ALS. After spending some time to grieve, Elizabeth decided to take a stand against ALS. “I wanted to help more by supporting ALS research and raising awareness of this disease,” explains Elizabeth. Like many family members who have lost a loved one to this disease, Elizabeth started to make contributions to The ALS Association. Eventually she decided to include The Association in her will and in doing so she became a member of The Legacy Society.

Elizabeth continued to make several gifts a year until she realized that she could do even more to support The ALS Association. In 2006, she transferred an existing annuity to establish a gift annuity with The ALS Association. In doing so, Elizabeth received a one-time income tax charitable deduction. She will also receive regular payments from The ALS Association for the rest of life, after which the remaining funds will be distributed to The Association.

“I wish I could give more,” Elizabeth modestly explains, adding “I learned so much about ALS and I know it’s a very difficult and complex disease. I want to do everything I can to help find a cure.”

Elizabeth Crossley is proof that you do not need to be a millionaire to make a significant impact in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease. There are many options available for those who wish to do more. Elizabeth would give everything she has to have Gerlinde back. Instead, she is doing everything she can so that others do not have to lose a loved one to such a devastating disease. 

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To find out how you can create a legacy of hope through a charitable gift annuity, please contact DJ Hampton, Vice President, Development dhampton@alsa-national.org.  You can also learn more about gift annuities by visiting The Association's web site at http://www.legacy.vg/alsa. All inquiries are strictly confidential.

 

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