Gail Allen, 42
Gail Allen is affected by dermatomyositis (DM), a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness of shoulder and limb muscles and joint pain. Finding it very difficult to walk at the time of her diagnosis 13 years ago, she now walks unaided, thanks to medication. Allen was the sole support for her 8-year-old son when she began falling inexplicably and discovered she had the disease. Believing a disability isn't a crutch, Allen persevered. With medical treatment through her MDA clinic, she continued working and raising her son, eventually obtaining a college degree. For 10 years, Allen has been a contract administrator for Georgia Pacific.