The ALS Association
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Every Road

By Jimmie Cheek

bob-testimonial-box-webpageEveryone tells you to travel when you’re young. But that’s one of those things that goes in one ear and out the other until you’re faced with the reality of it.

My boyfriend, Bob, was diagnosed with ALS a year and a half after we started dating. Handsome and athletic, he had always idolized Lou Gehrig and was familiar with the condition that forced the legend to retire from baseball at the age of 36.

In 2011, Bob started experiencing unexplained weakness in his hand. We knew something wasn’t right when he couldn’t seem to hold on to the ball during his softball games.

While Bob’s ALS progressed slowly for the first few years, he recently suffered a fall. I knew he was reaching a point when maintaining his active, fun-filled lifestyle would become more challenging. And it did.

We weren’t going to let ALS get in the way of Bob’s dream.

One day I asked, what’s on your bucket list, Bob? Without hesitation he replied, “Cooperstown, the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

The only problem was that we didn’t have a way to get there. By this time, Bob was in a wheelchair full-time. He couldn’t move his hands, arms, or neck. But we weren’t going to let ALS get in the way of Bob’s dream.

We had both been very active with our local ALS Association Chapter, attending support groups, which helped us understand what benefits were available to us. Soon, we approached the chapter for a transportation grant—and along with support from our church—we were able to purchase a handicap-accessible van!

So Bob and I hit the road, driving from Ohio all the way to upstate New York. We saw Niagra Falls for the first time, and made our way to Cooperstown.

“I’m so thankful I can take Bob to watch his grandkids play sports on weekends. Without help from The ALS Association, he would be confined to his home 24/7.”

When we got back from the trip, Bob had to move out of our home and into a care facility. I still can’t get used to coming home to an empty house.

Once a week, I drive our van to his place, and take him out to see his grandchildren play sports, which always perks him up.

Every road we take together now, adds up to Bob’s dreams come true.

You can help make dreams come true for people with ALS! Please make a donation to make magic happen like it did for Bob and me. While we search for the cure, we must continue to take care of people living with ALS today.

Living with ALS? Find resources in your area by contacting your local chapter or visiting ALSA.org/community

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