My father was active and healthy all his life. When he retired at the age of 65 he was looking forward to
finally show my mother the world as he had promised her at their wedding. They had both worked hard
all their lives and had never taken any long or expensive trips.
That first year they took a bus tour from Toronto to the west coast of Canada. They enjoyed it so much
that they booked their second trip to the southern US right away for the following year. One week into
the second trip my mother sent us a post card from New Orleans that my dad did not seem to enjoy the
new food as he usually did. That was what he loved about travelling: trying out the local cuisine, eating
After they returned from that trip he went to see our family doctor, there was some tingling in his arm
that was bothering him. The doctor examined him and sent him immediately to a neurologist. He told us
that he does not know what is causing the tingling and would like to have it double checked. That
specialist diagnosed my father with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig disease. Our doctor
had never heard of that in 35 years of practise or ever seen a case.
The year was 1983 and very few people were familiar with that devastating disease. There was
absolutely nothing that could be done for my father; it was a death sentence with no medicines
available. No one knew anything about it. My father died nine months later.
Since then, the disease seems to become more frequent, with no known cause. In our home town alone,
Georgetown, Ontario, we know of three or four cases. The most prominent is a local doctor. Dr.
Sutherland is a young father and husband. Because he was so well known in our community, the people
rallied around him and started the ALS walk, which now has spread around the country and raises
millions of dollars for research each year.
And progress has been made since 1984, with Canada being the world leader. It will take a lot more
money and time, but recently discoveries have been made which look very promising. It is no longer if,
but when the cause will be found and then a cure can be worked on.
I have always wanted to do something in my father’s memory and help families who have to deal with
this dreadful death sentence. I saw my mother suffering almost as much as my father, seeing her
beloved husband waste away, a man who just could not live with the thought that now his wife, whom
he adored and had spoiled all their lives, had to tie his shoes, help him around the house, cut the lawn
and shovel the snow. As far as he was concerned, those were his duties, she should not have to do them
and it devastated him to watch her doing them.
Therefore, every book you buy will help to find a cure so that families will be spared those hardships,
mentally as well as physically. If you do not want to buy a book, please consider a donation to ALS.