Meet my brother, Michael Welter: a loving husband, father, and a grandfather, too. Michael has a passion for music. He’s traveled across the country to see bands like The Grateful Dead and Umphrey’s McGee. So who is Michael?
He’s a friend. He has a heart for people, and a gift for helping others see value. He sees potential in the solutions that others overlook, and a future for the people that others ignore.
About 15 years ago, Michael and wife Beth were in Cincinnati for a concert. Michael looked out the hotel window and saw a homeless man on the street below. What he did next exemplifies the man my brother is. He went down to the lobby where continental breakfast was set up and filled a tray with an assortment of foods. He went outside to the man and sat with him, sharing breakfast and conversation for about an hour. Michael learned Bryant’s name and they talked about the hard times he had fallen on. He gave Bryant some encouraging words and his phone number. Last month when I went to visit my brother, I walked in the house, and he and Beth were discussing a phone call he’d just received. It was Bryant. They’ve kept in touch all these years. Bryant now has a job and an apartment. He called to tell Michael he’s planning to visit him in July.
If you’re lucky enough to know my brother, he has probably encouraged you in some way and shown you a way up, a way out, a way forward. Now it’s our chance to return the favor. What is Michael going through?
Three winters ago, Michael fell. For those familiar with the Midwest, you know a fall in the snow is not uncommon. But Michael couldn’t seem to heal. His gait was off; he was limping; things just weren’t right. With no insurance, Michael pushed through and kept trudging along day to day, going to work, assuming things would get better. They didn’t.
He soon noticed he was having trouble with his arms. He couldn’t carry his plate to the table. He couldn’t brush his teeth. His arms just weren’t working. He made an appointment with a doctor, but got nothing from it but an exorbitant bill.
As time passed, he continued to get worse. He had to stop working. Then he had to stop driving. He had to use a walker to get around the house. My brother did not leave his home for several months. As his mobility has declined, it’s become more challenging for Beth to get him in and out of the car. More than once, our cousin made the two hour drive from Chicago just to help take Michael to an appointment. He and Beth estimate that, over the past year, they’ve had to call the fire department over 100 times. Usually this is for help lifting him from a chair or the floor, but they’ve helped get him in the car a few times, too. Sometimes he just can’t make an appointment if there’s no one available to assist. The Dreaded Diagnosis
In April 16, 2019 my brother got the diagnosis we’d been fearing. He has terminal motor neuron disease, a progressive, fatal disease that affects nerve cells, leading to muscle atrophy throughout the body, eventually impairing the ability to breathe. There is generally no known cause, virtually no treatment, and absolutely no cure. How can you help?
We don’t know how much time my brother has, but we want to make the most of every moment. We are requesting donations to go towards travel expenses. If you have airline miles you'd like to donate, we'd happily accept those too. Folks we're hoping to bring to South Bend to spend time with Michael:
• Michael’s son and granddaughter in Atlanta
• Michael’s sister in NC
• Michael’s sister in Dallas, TX
• handicap accessible van
• accumulated bills Thank you!!
Anything you can do is appreciated. Please share our GoFundMe and help raise awareness of this harrowing disease.