The ALS Association

I Miss My Dad Every Day

Craig N. Oak Park, California

My Dad was diagnosed with ALS shortly after his 40th birthday. I was 12, and it was quite hard to understand what was happening to him. He was a dedicated educator who ran an elementary school and loved his job, and his staff loved to have fun. Ironically, a 6 months before onset of symptoms, they had given him a birthday party where he was presented with a borrowed wheel chair and cane for turning 40. About 6 months later, he began to feel weakness in one leg, he experienced difficulty sometimes with balance, and he experienced muscle fasciculations. He continued to work for several years, and even ran the same school first with the aid of a cane, and later with the aid of a power wheel chair. His atrophy was a bit slower than some and he survived 12 years. It was an agonizing process that I would not wish on anyone. He had a sharp mind, incredible wit, and strong desire to live. This insidious disease finally won. I miss him every day. Luckily for us, his was not familial form of the disease. He did serve in WW2 in New Guinea, and there was speculation in medical community that this could be related as there was were ALS clusters there.

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