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May 2, 2017 / tgexp

Mance Family European Adventure 2017

Thanks to funds donated to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, Team Gleason was able to send pALS Sam Mance, wife Sera, and daughters Cora and Julia on a European Adventure they will never forget.

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After ALS diagnosis, life for anyone close to pALS is anything but easy. pALS Sam Mance wanted to share his lifelong dream of seeing Europe and especially the Duomo Steps with his family.

The Mance Family hopped on a flight in Newark, NJ and began their Adventure to Europe. Sam, Sera, Julia, and Cora’s first stop was London, England. Not letting the jet lag hold them back, they took to the streets at once. Opting for a “hop on/hop off” double decker tour bus and Thames cruise, the family was able to sit back and enjoy listening to the tour guides. The family saw everything from the Tower Bridge to the Tower of London, experienced the London Eye, which is a large Ferris wheel along the River Thames, and toured Buckingham Palace.

The next stop was Rome. After a flight delay and getting in late, the family awoke and made way to the Colosseum and various other historic sites which were in walking distance. The family enjoyed gelato, the Trevi Fountain, and finished up Rome with a tour at the Pantheon and the Vatican.

Taking a high speed train, the family made way to Florence, Italy in a little over an hour. Sam, Sera, Cora and Julia experienced local Tuscan foods such as rice balls and were able to see historic sights such as the Ponte Vecchio. The next morning they awoke to fulfill Sam’s lifelong dream – climb the Duomo Steps. Writing a research paper in college about the Duomo as well as being a carpenter for 20 years is what sparked the interest of seeing and climbing all 463 steps. Sam recounts “It was by far the most memorable part of the trip and understandably the most challenging”.

The next stop was Venice; the family arrived and quickly located a water taxi which whisked them away to their rental. Sam made sure to inform us “Word of caution – Venice is maze like in design”. Having one night in Venice and the toll of traveling, the Mances decided to stay in and make dinner as a family. The next morning they made their way to Milan, Italy and then Lausanne, Switzerland through the Alps.

The Mance Family enjoyed the train ride from Lausanne to Paris which provided some down time where they were able to recharge a bit. The Mances told us Paris is very beautiful during the springtime and the Parisians were both friendly and accommodating. Overall, a great experience.

Recounting the entire trip, Sam told Team Gleason “The Adventure has changed my outlook of living with ALS and for the better. The Reason being is that from the outset I was worried that I might not be able to keep up with out schedule but the opposite was the case… We had the Adventure of a lifetime, we made wonderful memories and ALS was a part of it but it didn’t slow us down. Thank you Team Gleason for making it happen!”

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