Nancy O'Dell Grieves the Death of Her Mom
06/12/2008 AT 12:25 PM EDT
Elizabeth "Betty" Sawyer Humphries, a lifelong South Carolinian and a retired schoolteacher, was diagnosed with ALS, a neuromuscular disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, last November. In April, O'Dell opened up about her mom's illness with the hope of raising awareness. "Right now, there is no cure,” she told PEOPLE at the time.
In a statement on Access Hollywood's Web site, Betty was remembered as "relentlessly positive, with a strong faith in God and never an unkind word. The silver linings in this deeply painful time for Nancy are these – it was quick after diagnosis so Betty didn’t suffer much and thus her mom will be remembered as she was known: full of life and love."
Watching her mother struggle with the disease was tough for O'Dell, 42, who is married to business executive Keith Zubchevich and the mother of daughter Ashby Grace, 1. "It's the most difficult thing I've ever been through," she said in April. "She is one of the most loving, incredible and giving people on this earth."
The family has requested that memorials be made at www.ALS-MDA.org.
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