‘I Want to Live’


“I miss being part of my kids’ lives.

“I miss being a wife.

“But yet I still want to live.”

There are many remarkable moms in this world and in this Mahoning Valley. One of them is Christine Moschella Terlesky. Still.

A special Vindicator package on Christine begins today and will continue the next two Sundays.

She is in the sixth year of her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Most victims succumb within two to five years.

But she is a Moschella, and if you’ve seen her dad or her on the basketball court these past four decades, you know these Moschella rules:

You don’t go quietly, and you don’t go without a fight.

Her social media post March 5 was part of her ongoing battle to improve life for other ALS victims by sharing what she and her family are enduring. She had many posts over those several days, each just as piercing as the other.

Six years of ALS has cost Christine most of everything. But not everything.

That’s what you read today and also the next two Sundays in a special presentation by Vindicator photographer Bill Lewis and reporter Jessica Hardin.

Christine last appeared on our pages in 2014 for a Mother’s Day story by Joe Scalzo, a former Vindicator sports reporter. She was stricken then, but more able than today.

Since then, she has mostly retreated from public life. Her days are spent in a special bedroom in her Boardman home. An army of family and medical people tends to her needs.

After those social posts in early March, I reached out to her. When you read her words, if they don’t compel you to pick up a shovel to dig in, then you never will.

In offering to shine light on her battle that you will read more in Week 2, we asked for one specific opportunity.

In a battle such as what Christine is waging, you can certainly write about its challenges. But if you show it, you play a stronger hand.

We asked to come into their daily life with cameras and recorders.

As noted, she’s retreated from most public life, except for social media. Christine knows how she was, and she’s very aware of how she is. She wants the prior to be what most people remember.

Still, Christine – along with the Moschellas and the Terleskys – said yes to our request.

That’s what you will experience today and the next two Sundays in print from Jessica and in video and photos from Bill.

Christine is joined by her husband, Brian, who will inspire you. Son Brian Jr. (aka Little Brian) will make you proud of the next generation. Christine’s and Brian’s parents join in, providing voices to cherish. Two other children, Emma and Tyler, partake, as do more Moschella family.

Our coverage will go back and forth through three Sunday chapters. What you will see and watch will be discomforting at times. But it also will be equally remarkable. We’re proud of the work of Bill and Jessica and grateful to the family.

The family has been part of our sporting fabric for decades with dominant high school performances and NCAA Division 1 stages in football, golf and basketball.

But their best battle is the fight for love – and for life.

From Christine’s own words:

“I still want to live.”

And when you’re a Moschella, you don’t go quietly, and you don’t go without a fight.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.

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