Mary Tanealian, 66

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Since 1999, Mary Tanealian has been determined to not let scleroderma stop her.

Identifying as an exceptionally independent person, this disease forced her to make both personal and professional changes. And in doing so, she found a way to work until she was 66 years old – overcoming obstacles in and out of her home.

Most notably, Mary had to learn how to ask for help, which is as difficult as it is necessary.

“I’m very lucky to have my husband,” she said. “He does all he can to make my life easier.”

Struggling with an overwhelming loss of energy, scleroderma sacrificed freedoms some people take for granted… like the strength to use a can opener. The power to hold something heavy. The ability to keep a clean house. But, it also brought about a support system she could count on, consistently and confidently.