Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presented the Order of the Palmetto to Suzy Shealy Monday morning.
We introduced you to Suzy Shealy and her daughter Elizabeth Nazionale in May 2014. Shealy, at the time, was a year into her diagnosis of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
She said in the 2014 interview, "I'm at peace with my diagnosis. I'm not afraid of the future."
Three year later, Shealy communicates with her eyes and with help from Nazionale, her daughter. Shealy said, "I am doing quite well."
Nazionale also continues to care for her mother 24-hours a day. Nazionale said, "We definitely have our ups and downs, but she is a fighter and we are doing really well."
Monday morning, things were looking up. Shealy along with other families impacted by ALS visited the Statehouse as Governor McMaster declared May ALS awareness month in South Carolina.
McMaster said reading the proclamation this should, "raise awareness of this devastating disease."
During the presentation and to the surprise of everyone, the governor presented the Order of the Palmetto to Shealy, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor of South Carolina.
The official presentation is Saturday morning 10 AM at Northeast Presbyterian Church, but Shealy gladly accepted the award a little early.
Shealy said, "It is humbling." Now the artist, Gold Star Mother and ALS fighter can add another title to her name with this award.
Nazionale said, "I am just so proud of her. She is an amazing mother. She is one of those souls who you come across that just draws everyone to her. I'm beyond proud of her."
About 6,000 people a year are diagnosed with ALS and it is estimated that more than 20,000 Americans may be living with the disease at any given time.
In South Carolina, there are about 300 people currently diagnosed with ALS.