Sonja recently confided to me and some other of Scott's friends that he has not been feeling well lately. He has been to see several doctors and specialists, and on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 a specialist at Duke University Medical Center confirmed that Scott has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gherig's disease as it is most commonly known.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease attacks the motor neurons between the brain and the spinal cord and between the spinal cord and the muscles throughout the body. As the motor neurons are destroyed, the brain can no longer control the muscles. Patients gradually lose control of their muscles and many eventually become paralyzed. ALS has no cure, and no treatment. Most patients can expect to live 2 to 5 years after diagnosis. There is no way to know how long after diagnosis a patient may retain mobility.
Scott and his family are no strangers to grief. When we were still kids, he had to deal with the loss of his father and stepfather just a week apart. As a young adult, his older brother Jeff fell into a coma as a result of a tragic car crash. And although he would eventually come out of the coma, Jeff was not able to lead the life he had envisioned. Later, Scott had to guide his family through the grief of the death of his younger brother, Spencer. And later still, Jeff passed as well. Throughout all this grief, Scott was a rock for his family, especially his mother Barbara, who is now facing the loss of a third son.
At just 49, Scott should have many years left in which to finish the things that make one's life complete. He should not have to face his own mortality yet. There should be many family vacations ahead, grandchildren, and retirement. Now, however, he must choose what to try to do with his remaining time. I have not yet seen his full "bucket list", but I have been told it has been a dream of his, and Eric's, to travel abroad to France. A hunter, he wishes to go on another hunt while he can. And as a big fan of the UNC Tarheels, he'd like to attend some football and basketball games.
On his behalf, I am asking for two things from you. The first is your prayers. And those of your church congregations. The second is a contribution to help allow this unselfish, uncomplaining man to achieve what goals he can with his remaining time and physical abilities.
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