My dad was diagnosed with ALS in October of 2009. I was a junior in high school at the time and had never heard of the disease. I learned the hard way how terrible the disease was as I watched it slowly take my dad from me. He began with a cane, moved to a walker, a wheel chair, and then a hospital bed. He was unable to speak for 2 years and used his Ipad and occasionally an eye-gaze machine to communicate. He eventually had to be on a ventilator as well as have a feeding tube. As he progressed it became hard for him to even digest one can a day. I watched as my strong, invincible dad became weak, frail, and a prisoner in his own body. Although everyday he was becoming weaker, his spirits stayed strong. He was continuously telling jokes and trying to make people laugh even though I’m sure he wanted to cry inside. He always asked about my day and wanted to know everything our family was up to. He remained the same selfless, intelligent, caring man that he always was.
My dad passed away on February 10, 2014. He courageously fought his battle for four years. My family spent as much time with him as possible, but it could never be enough. I have heard people say that ALS is the “good guy’s disease,” that people diagnosed are amazing, strong, quality human beings. This is true of every ALS patient I have met, especially my dad. My dad was the type of person that could make anyone’s day better; everyone always wanted to be around him. I’ll never understand why he had to go so young, at only 54, but I’m lucky to have had such an amazing man in my life for twenty years.
At his funeral I heard so many incredible stories about how much he had impacted people’s lives. Not many people do that, actually influence a person’s life and make them want to be better. I miss our nightly handshakes and movie marathons, and more than that I miss my hero. A child should never have to see their father go through so much pain and suffering. My dad was hopeful that a cure would be found in my lifetime, and I pray this is true. We must all continue to fight to cure this horrible disease and prevent other families from having to endure this pain. Let’s make a difference.
“Romans 5:3-5 "But we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulations bring about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."