Sarah Trott Opens Up About Her Dad's ALS Battle and Empowering Fellow Caregivers
Sarah Trott opened up about her dad’s battle with ALS in a new interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune published Tuesday.
“He was really active and in the prime of his career, and my whole world kind of changed after getting that diagnosis,” the “Bachelor” Season 25 star said of her terminally ill father, who began displaying early signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 54 in 2016.
ALS — a motor neuron disease that impacts cells in the brain and spinal cord that affect muscles throughout the body — includes such symptoms as muscle weakness, muscle spasms, coordination issues, body fatigue, vocal cord spasms, and trouble breathing.
Sarah recalled the span of time her dad’s health began deteriorating. “That felt so devastating for our family,” she said. “We were very optimistic and hopeful that it would be something that would be maybe treatable or have a longer life expectancy, and it was a really difficult thing to come to terms with.”
Currently, there is no cure for the degenerative disease and no treatment is available to slow its progression.
As Bachelor Nation is well aware, Sarah — a former broadcast journalist — left her job in news to be a full-time caregiver for her dad. “I was 19 when we got that diagnosis and it was completely shocking,” she explained in her intro package on the “Bachelor.” “Like, how do you wrap your head around that, your dad has a terminal illness? Fortunately, he’s still alive and he’s still in good spirits.”
Sarah explained to the San Diego Union-Tribune why she felt compelled to press pause on her career to look after her father with the help of her mother and sister.
“I felt like it was the least I could do was just to return in gratitude all of the things that they’ve, they’ve done for me, that this is just a small token that I could do for them,” said Sarah, who shared that her father’s medical needs have since increased to the point of him needing a nurse to assist in his care.
Though Sarah’s “Bachelor” journey was brief — she chose to leave the competition for Matt James’ heart early and return home to Southern California to be with her father — she is grateful that the show gave her a platform to empower fellow caregivers.
“With ALS, the timeline is really unclear,” she said. “And my parents always were supportive of me continuing on my life path and finding happiness in my career or relationships with others and were fully supportive of me pursuing these things, including ‘The Bachelor.’”
These days, Sarah supports caregivers and raises awareness for ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — through her partnership with the ALS Association and its San Diego chapter. She is involved in the planning of virtual caregiving retreats for young women to unite and share their experiences.
“I felt completely overwhelmed and helpless and didn’t make an effort to balance,” Sarah said. “That’s why I feel so passionate about uniting caregivers, especially young females who were thrown into this unexpected position, because what I went through felt so lonely and heartbreaking and challenging. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”
“It’s mostly young women who are in just a similar situation and feel really at a crossroads, like just starting out in their careers or relationships and are presented with this huge hardship,” the “From Here to Where” podcast host said. “I think that makes you feel less alone to know you really aren’t on this journey alone.”