ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that causes muscle weakness, a loss of motor function, breathing and swallowing problems, which eventually leads to paralysis then death by respiratory failure. The life expectancy of someone with ALS is 2 to 5 years from the time of the diagnosis.
Tom was diagnosed with ALS in June of 2017 after seeing countless doctors over a year prior to his diagnosis. It all started when he was playing on 3 baseball teams during the Spring of 2016 and it became more and more difficult for him to run, saying that it felt like there was lead in his feet. We all thought it was going to be a 'simple fix' and never in a million years expected it to be the start of a terminal illness.
Tom is married to Grace. I am her best friend of 25 years. We’ve been through many trials together but this takes the cake. Grace left a good paying job 5 years ago to care for her father who was dying of prostate cancer. The Fortune 500 company she worked for would not give her leave to take care of him, so she bit the bullet and stepped down to a job that paid 1/4 of the salary but allowed her to be caregiver. She did the same for her mother just 2 years later. And now Tom. Talk about being blindsided, I know firsthand how devastating this has been for them both. Every day is a new adventure with many unknowns but they are doing everything in their power to give him the best life possible while he's still with us.
That said, he will need a wheelchair accessible van for transportation in the near future as it's getting more difficult to transfer him in a standard vehicle. Not only will it be used to take him to doctor appointments but also to fulfill his passion for traveling. This will also give him a sense of freedom and independence as he feels like a prisoner in his own body. These vehicles are extremely costly and we could really use some financial help as Tom is no longer able to work.
Thank you so very much in advance! There are no words to express how much all the support means to us - whether it's lending a hand, offering words of encouragement, or the financial part - and we are forever grateful.
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