Donations for Troy Benton & Family

It's with a sad heart that I must announce that I have been recently diagnosed with ALS. It is a devastating disease with no cure. I am heartbroken by the news but have lived most of my life with the burden of knowing I had a 50/50 chance of getting ALS. But you live your life like it can't happen to you and then it does.

It had been a few months since I finished working on a massive expansion project and being on the move all day. Then we went thru a planning phase in which I was a desk jockey for several straight months with little mobility. Then in early Spring I began to notice I got tired like an old man walking from the parking lot to my desk which is an 1/8 mile by the way, so no short distance. I also began to notice I could not skip steps going upstairs anymore. I attributed these things to having been sedentary for several months and eating well on the company per diem while out of town. So I just figured, "Damn, I am getting old, fat, and lazy." So I tried to walk the stairs and speed walk around the plant but just couldn't seem to get any faster or stronger.

Then on May 29th, I was walking out with a few co-workers and noticed my right calf was sore. So much so, one guy asked, "Is your leg okay? why are you limping, Troy?" I was limping for no reason because I had not injured anything.  I didn’t panic at first but deep down I was freaking out. I told myself it was probably due to the lack of activity over the previous months and getting older.  It wasn’t until I got to my apartment and started trying some basic exercises to test the strength of my legs that I began to worry. I noticed that when I tried some simple calf raises that I was unable to extend my right heel off of the ground more than an inch or so. I could not jump more than an inch off the ground with my right leg. 

That's when it hit me, and I fell to my knees begging God, not now. I jumped in my car and drove the 4 hours back to Wilmington and cried with my wife all night and then drove  4 hours in the morning back to work without a wink of sleep. We live in Wilmington but I have been working in the Charlotte area for 3 years for a major fiber optics company. I am an engineering contractor and just can't miss time during a huge project. So I drove 4 hours back and forth every day without sleep. I could not sleep no matter what I tried. I could only fall asleep with my wife by my side. 2 hours a night was better than none. I finally saw the Doctor at Duke University who could not diagnose me with ALS because I was too strong for all of the tests they have. So they had my blood checked and a month later let me know I indeed have ALS. They say I have caught it very early and are hopeful I can get into some new trials based on my current strength. I am fighting for my family.

I have a beautiful wife and four terrific children, all are the treasures of my life. They mean everything to me and I have always tried to be the best husband and father. There has been no greater joy in my life than my family. I am their rock and they need me here a little longer. 

My son Auston is my first born and soon to be a father with a son of his own. Bailee, my second, is my only daughter and working hard to make her own way in the world. Jack, who is the third and the biggest of them all, is in his senior year of high school. Joss, the youngest, just started middle school. They are all perfect in my eyes and they are going to miss me very much.

My wife, Morgan is my absolute soul mate. We just love each other so much. I could not have asked for a better person to love me and spend my days. She's got the biggest heart and loves everybody. She
fixed my heart after it was left shattered through many heartaches. I am blessed for sharing my life with
her.

I have watched many family members lose their lives to this disease, including my own father. My grandmother watched her husband, four of her children, and one grandchild die of ALS before she
passed away heartbroken by this disease. It's been too difficult for many of us on my father's side of the family to get together or keep in touch because there's been so much grief and devastation that has
torn us apart. But, I still love every family member the same as I always have.

There are several new trials and therapies being used to try to fight ALS or at least slow down the progression. I have applied for a few including stem cell spinal injections and gene therapy trial study. I
am also trying a holistic approach as well. I will have to make monthly trips out of state and the treatments are expensive (i.e. one stem cell treatment can cost up to $10,000). I want to fight with everything I can, but I also don't want to leave my family with a financial burden. They deserve peace and love after I'm gone, not stress.

I'm asking for donations to help with medical expenses and general needs. But I want to give back to those who donate with a homemade memento from my wood shop and hand-written thank you letter. I am also selling wood products including cutting boards, signs, wine racks, farm tables, coffee tables, and more to help raise money in support of my family. I will post pictures soon. All will be made with love.

Additionally, I want to start a blog where I will share my favorite memories of my family, friends, funny stories, Ohio State memories, and my thoughts. I will post a link on my Facebook once I get it started. 
Anyone who wants to reach out please don’t hesitate to call, text, or message me via Facebook. I would love to hear from you even if we haven’t talked in a long time. 

Thank you and God bless,
Troy Benton
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Organizer

Troy Benton 
Organizer
Wilmington, NC
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