Woman battling ALS gets car parade surprise on birthday

Published: Jul. 19, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - With social distancing, people all over are driving by their loved one’s houses for things like anniversaries and birthdays. One woman who is battling ALS got a special surprise on Sunday.

Friends and family said it has been a hard year for Janet Hatfield, who celebrated her 71st birthday on Sunday. And they knew they wanted to do something extra special to show her how much she is loved.

People drove by in cars honking, decked out in balloons and signs, just to see a smile on Janet’s face.

“I wanted to let Janet know how much she is loved,” said Shirley Matoush, Janet’s friend.

The drive-by birthday celebration brought happy tears and laughs during a hard time for the family. After being diagnosed with ALS in May, Janet said everything has happened fast.

“Because my sickness has come so quickly, I haven’t had much time to prepare mentally, but I have the best friends in the entire world,” said Hatfield.

Hatfield said the disease is no stranger to her family, as she lost her dad and nephew to ALS. Due to COVID-19, Janet hasn’t been able to see everyone, until Sunday.

Hatfield said she knows how much she is loved, and that means the world to her, especially right now.

“You don’t know what impact you have had on the world, you hope it’s been good until you see that your friends love you regardless,” said Hatfield.

Friends and family who planned the drive-by celebration said its the perfect way to honor Janet.

“She has handled it with so much courage, and I admire her so much,” said Matoush.

“Happy birthday, happy birthday mom!” said Kendra Orth and Kris Hatfield.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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