Lea And Rene Rausch
Whenever kids growing up in Lanikai/Kailua who knew the Rausch family needed help or advice, there was only one thing to do: Go see Sheila Ann Rausch. “She really was everybody’s mom,” says her daughter Rene, 23. “She was always the one to inspire us and our friends to want to go to school and do something with our lives.” Sheila (pictured, center), a medical billing and business consultant and Internet tourism entrepreneur, was hardworking, caring and generous. She was also an unwaveringly positive thinker and remained so even during her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Sheila died in April at age 57. In her memory and to raise awareness about the disease and funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) her daughters Lea (pictured, left) and Rene (right) are hosting the Adore Life Soiree.
ALS is the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in involuntary muscle movement and difficulty in speaking or breathing. ALS, for which there is no known cure, affects about 30,000 Americans each year. Many die within three to five years of their diagnosis.
In addition to raising awareness, Rene and Lea also hope to raise money for the ALS division of MDA, which offers health care and support, and conducts research and advocacy for those affected by muscular dystrophy and related diseases. “They do a great job of reaching out,” says Lea, 26. “We want to give back so that they can use this money to help other families that are going through this.”
It’s been just a few months since their mother died. And yes, talking about her does bring tears, but it mostly brings smiles as the girls remember what a loving, inspirational figure Sheila had been in their lives and the lives of others in the community.
“Throughout her disease, she still had a smile on her face most of the time,” Lea says. “She still wanted to know how everybody else was doing.” That kind of positive attitude is the sentiment that the sisters seek to extend at the event. “It’s important for everybody to recognize not only how fragile life is, but also how beautiful it is, and to celebrate it,” Lea says. “(The event) is not only to celebrate her memory, but the lives that we have after being touched by her.”
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