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Film to Chronicle Social Worker’s Ability to Live Life to the Fullest with ALS

Scene from the film Mariah. Photo from film website.

Scene from the film Mariah. Photo from film website.

National Association of Social Workers member Mariah Gladis was on top of the world in 1981.

She was an avid runner, swimmer and skier, was deeply in love with her future husband Ron, and had a full private practice.

But then she went to the doctor to find out why twitches that started in her right thumb began to affect her whole hand.

Tests revealed she had Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, and doctors told her there was just a one in ten chance she would survive another six months to two years.

Instead of backing out of the marriage as Mariah asked, Ron said he would keep his commitment. He asked if Mariah felt like she was dying and Mariah said she did not.

So they decided to continue to live life to the fullest and enjoy each moment, despite the fact Mariah had a disease that eroded her nervous system, and eventually slurred her speech, made it difficult for her to walk, and required her to need home health workers to bath, dress and eat.

To find out more about the film, watch a trailer, and learn how you can support it visit the Mariah Movie website.

Thirty-four years later she has astounded doctors by becoming one of the longest-lived persons with ALS. Gladis, MSW, LCSW, is a world renown social worker and psychotherapist, runs a successful private practice The Pennsylvania Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in Malvern, and she and Ron raised two sons.

Filmmaker Coleman Gladis. Photo courtesy of film website.

Filmmaker Coleman Gladis. Photo courtesy of film website.

One of their sons Coleman, a film and television director who has worked in the production of ABC’s “The Bachelor” and AMC’s “Mad Men,” decided to do a film about his mother’s life after several people told him his mother’s therapy saved their lives.

Mariah Gladis

Mariah Gladis

The film, which has finished principal shooting and is now in post-production, includes VHS video footage from the1980s that his father recorded.

“The film is in the process of being made,” Ron Gladis said. “We are trying to get letters of support.”

In the meantime Mariah, who uses Ron to interpret her speech, continues to have a busy schedule. She ran four workshops in June and July and continues to see individual clients and has five group sessions that meet every other week.

She even gave a TIM (Together in Mission) Talk to the  Lutheran Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod.

“Her health is terrific,” Ron Gladis said. “It’s hard for me to keep up with her.”

Social workers such as Mariah Gladis help clients overcome life’s challenges. To learn more about the ways social workers help individuals and society visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” website.

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  1. I am enormously blessed in my life and deeply touched by my years working with, learning from and healed by my experience with Mariah. I am anxious for having her passion and gifts opened for more to see.

  2. There is a “special” person in my life whose name is: Mariah Gladis.

    I feel honored and privileged to experience much healing from Mariah.

    To say that Mariah has saved my life is an understatement.

    And I must add this is done with much humility and LOVE!!!

    I will never stop “singing her well deserved praises”!!!

    Much love and happiness to all who help Mariah so she can do what she does best!!!

  3. Where is it showing and/or how can you find the film to view? The trailer states that the movie will be released in 2014. Is it still avaialable?

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