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How Brooke Eby is Navigating Her ALS Diagnosis — and Salesforce Career

Salesforce Careers

May 28, 2024

Brooke smiles with Marc Benioff at a Salesforce event
Brooke with CEO Marc Benioff at Salesforce’s annual Company Kickoff event.

Enduring a health crisis at any age is difficult for most to process — let alone talk about publicly. But Brooke Eby, Salesforce ISV Principal Business Development Manager, is anything but ordinary.


Instead, she’s facing her ALS diagnosis (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease) head-on by documenting her journey via social media, one real reel at a time. Together with her signature humor and savvy sales and marketing skills, she’s managed to educate millions, humanize the disease, and fundraise thousands of dollars.

We connected with Brooke to learn more about her ALS journey, her Salesforce career, and how she’s kept herself — and those around her — laughing.

 

 

We’d love a little introduction ... what’s your name and role at Salesforce?

I’m Brooke Eby aka @LimpBroozkit. I’m an ISV Principal Business Development Manager within our Sales team, and I’ve been with Salesforce for nearly eight years.

Tell us more about your ALS journey.

Brooke laughing, sitting in her wheelchair, in front of a white backdrop
Photo courtesy of Brooke Eby

Salesforce really plays such a role in my ALS journey. I’ll try to set the scene: The year is 2018, I was a stressed Financial Services Account Executive in our NYC Hub.

 

I was rushing out of the office to get to World Tour with a couple coworkers when I noticed I was struggling to walk. The following weeks, it felt like I was limping every time I’d go up for coffee on our ‘Ohana Floor. After enough coworkers noticed, I finally went to the doctor, assuming it was something minor since I was just 29.

 

I must have had thousands of tests — MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, spinal taps, blood tests, and more. One by one, all the minor diagnoses were ruled out, and eventually the doctors started considering more serious options, but nothing was clear until my weakness started progressing to my second leg.


After four years, countless tests, and at the age of 33, I was officially diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is an aggressive disease with no cure today.

 

Today, you’ve become a bit of an ALS influencer with you social media presence, @limpbroozkit. How has social media helped you navigate your diagnosis with ALS?

When I was first diagnosed, I found it extremely difficult to tell people. They’d start crying, then I’d start crying, and it would just be a depressing mess.

 

A Tiktok screenshot of Brooke talking to the camera
Click to watch Brooke answer, "What do you do for work, and how have they handled the diagnosis?"

Two months after my diagnosis, I had a friend’s wedding, and I had to show up using a walker in front of all of my college friends. Right as we were walking into the venue, I turned to my best friend panicking that it was going to be incredibly embarrassing. Somehow, a few hours later, we had the bride limboing under my walker and I was giving people walker rides all over the dance floor.

 

That was the turning point for me. I figured if I could laugh through my diagnosis in front of a big crowd, why not start sharing in a more public forum, and @limpbroozkit was born!

 

The first couple TikToks I posted started gaining traction, and slowly but surely I’ve found a great community who are interested in learning about my ALS journey — whether that’s seeing me trying new ALS medications, navigating life with a newfound disability, or funny texts my little nieces send me about ALS.

 

To be honest, I feel like I was meant for this role. I’ve always used humor in any situation, I have a sales background — I feel like I’m meant to drive awareness for ALS and get attention on this cause.

“ ALS isn’t rare — the lifetime risk is 1 in 300 — so there are so many people whose lives have been touched by ALS. The more we can amplify this community, maybe we’ll have a better chance of finding a cure.”

Many of us here at Salesforce first learned about your ALS diagnosis via a LinkedIn post. What was it like drafting that?

I got to a point where I had “come out” as someone living with ALS to all of my friends and family, but not to my professional network. On a Zoom meeting, you can’t see that my legs aren’t working properly. I was hesitant that posting about it on LinkedIn, I’d blur the line between personal and professional, but it was the best decision. The immediate support from everyone in my network and in the Salesforce ecosystem was overwhelming. Being open created a new way of building relationships.


It’s also helped give me perspective. At work, especially virtually, we only see a small box version of our colleagues, and it’s easy to forget that we’re all human and have things going on outside of this one specific deal or account we’re discussing.

 

What role has Salesforce played throughout your ALS journey?

As soon as I posted on LinkedIn about my diagnosis and saw the support of so many Salesforce colleagues, I knew I wanted to get connected internally. I immediately got connected with the D.C. chapter of Abilityforce — Salesforce’s Equality Group for ability inclusion — and its leadership team.

 

Image of Brooke before throwing the first pitch on Lou Gehrig Day.
Brooke before throwing the first pitch on Lou Gehrig Day.

From there, I was connected to a network of people internally who have personally been affected by ALS. Incredible Salesforce leaders like Denise Dresser (CEO, Slack) and Mark Sullivan (President, Sales) are all involved in the ALS community and are taking on the fight against ALS with me using the power Salesforce and its ecosystem.

We created an internal group called ALSforce, a grassroots network of ambassadors that continue awareness and drive engagement to events like Lou Gehrig’s Day, with the ultimate goal of using our technology to help the ALS community. Today, ALSforce has over 700 members in our Slack group, and we’ve raised hundreds of thousands for ALS-related causes.

Salesforce benefits have also been a lifesaver. I swear — every doctor I’ve come across will say “We can request this medication from your insurance, but it’s been denied for most patients or it can take months to get a response” and then my insurance through Salesforce will approve it in a matter of days. Things like braces for my legs, or a newly FDA-approved medication, are all accessible to me, which is so lucky.

“I feel like I was meant for this role. I’ve always used humor in any situation, I have a sales background — I feel like I’m meant to drive awareness for ALS and get attention on this cause.”

Click to watch Brooke share about the Levity Project at Salesforce.
Click to watch Brooke share about the Levity Project at Salesforce.

What are your goals for ALSforce?

In typical Salesforce fashion, we created a V2MOM [Salesforce’s annual goal setting tool] to really identify what we want to accomplish as a community. We have a lot of ambitious plans and goals for this year — from using Slack to bring the ALS community together, to reimagining what events and volunteerism look like for our employees who want to get involved.

 

Our overall vision is: ALSforce will use the power of the Salesforce ecosystem and technology to accelerate ALS research and improve patient care. It’s such a gift for me to help drive this community.

 

Grappling with your diagnosis and symptoms can be emotionally and mentally challenging. How do you protect your mental health?

I think our brains are far more defensive than we realize. People always say to me “I could never handle this in the way you have” or “you seem so fine for someone dealing with this type of diagnosis.” Of course I cried and lashed out for the first two or three months, but I got to a point where it just stopped. My brain no longer goes into “What will next month be like? What will next year look like?” — if I start thinking those thoughts, my brain seems to reroute and give me some peace.

 

That’s incredible. Now, aside from making the world double over in laughter, what else do you hope your colleagues — and even your social media followers! — will take away from you?

My north star has always been awareness. I think when people hear ALS, they think Lou Gehrig or Stephen Hawking, or they just stare blankly back at me. There’s not a lot of awareness— maybe because ALS moves so quickly, so there aren’t as many people living with ALS to talk about it as there are with something like MS.

If my platform can help start conversations, then conversations drive awareness which drives pressure and resources to find a cure.

Do you have any advice for how Salesforce employees — and others in our community— can show up as allies for those battling a health issue?

Work for me has been such an additive part of my life. I think without work, I’d have more time to dwell on ALS. In terms of allyship, I think flexibility and understanding from my team has helped the most. Travel is tough for me, and conferences require a lot of walking which is hard with limited mobility, so teammates will jump in on my behalf. Some days I have an all day appointment and have to reschedule a meeting. I don’t think everyone is as comfortable being open about it, but for me, being an open book has led to more support and more conversations around where I need help.

Everyone at Salesforce is going to go through something, so I’ll show up for them in the same way.

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