Help Cathy Speck Win “Hero Next Door” Contest


Our longtime friend, Cathy Speck, is a finalist in the Tom’s of Maine “Hero Next Door” contest.  Cathy has incurable ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).  Cathy is fearless, but worried about her wife Linda because, even though they are legally married in California, she knows that when she dies Linda will not have access to her Social Security and other benefits.

You can vote for Cathy and read more about her at:

Please forward this email to everyone you can.  It takes almost no time to vote and Cathy and Linda need our help.

Thank you so much for your support for our personal hero and the most inspirational person we have ever met.

Shelly and Ellen

Cathy’s Letter to the Editor in our local Davis newspaper is below:


My family, Gene and Dorothy Speck and my zillion siblings, moved to this fine town in 1956. The Specks have many fine traditions in Davis. And although I am honored to be following in the footsteps of my brother Larry and my mom Dorothy, those steps are rapidly becoming aided by a walker and wheelchair.

I have ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. We have a rare genetic form of familial ALS running through my family. Of course, all of my family, friends and co-workers are being tremendously supportive and compassionate. I feel so fortunate to be living in the community of Davis where love and offers of help so freely abound.

My biggest concern is for my wife, Linda Duval. We were married last November, the day before the election when Prop. 8 passed. (Our state does establish trends for the other 49, so I’d been hoping that we could make progress out here on the “Left Coast.”)

Linda and I have been a committed couple since 1993. We live together, love and laugh together, cry together, and make lots of music for our community – always together. Because of the lack of equal marriage rights, Linda will not be able to receive my Social Security benefits when I die. This is just one of the sad realities of what happens when our country doesn’t treat its citizens equally.

Someday I hope the United States of America and the great state of California will recognize that our love and commitment are as strong as any heterosexual couple, and that we deserve the same rights and benefits. We pay the same taxes, and we die and leave our loved ones behind. Although I am the eternal optimist, I don’t think marriage equality will happen before I die.

But when equality is manifested, you all will hear my booming voice bouncing off clouds and dancing with the rays of sun. And I will be singing of thanks and praise. And Love. Always remember Love – with a capital “L.”

Cathy Speck

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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