February 17, 2022 –

Invisible Army: Caregivers on the Front Line: Part of an occasional series supported by the Solutions Journalism Network

Daniela Castro-Martinez remembers how dedicated and active her mother was before she got sick, giving her only child a lot of attention.

“Every weekend, she’d take me to tennis tournaments. Sometimes they were like an hour, two hours away. She would do that because she knew that I loved the sport,” Castro-Martinez said. “She did everything for me and never complained about it.”

That was before Sandra Martinez was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The disease is progressive and affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Martinez lost her mobility around the time her daughter started high school. That’s when the roles essentially reversed, and Castro-Martinez became one of her mother’s primary caregivers.

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