My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life
Ron McCormick turns 62 years old today. It’s a birthday to celebrate. He should eat lots of sugar-loaded cake. He should open presents from loved ones. He should kick up his heels, dance a little, maybe on a table. But he can’t because he was diagnosed with a fatal disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis a.k.a. “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”).
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
Ron is now completely paralyzed. He has lived with the disease for almost 9 years. Typical life expectancy is 3-5 years after diagnosis. So he has lived far beyond the “norm”. But he is tired. He is weary.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look “thinner” as muscle tissue atrophies.
Categories: Faith, Life everyday, Life in general
Tags: ALS, ALS Organization, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, charity, Colorado ALS, Death, family, fatal diseases, fundraiser, fundraising, life, Lou Gehrig's Disease, mitch albom, neurodegenerative disease, stem cell research, symptoms o ALS, Team McCormick, tuesday with morrie, Walk to d'Feet ALS
I was first introduced to the writing of Mitch Albom when a friend gave me his book Tuesdays with Morrie. The book tells the story of Albom’s old college professor who had ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Because, at the time, Ron (my step-father) had just been diagnosed with the same fatal disease. That was almost 9 years ago. Since that first book, I have become a faithful fan of Albom’s writing.
I just finished reading his newest book Have a Little Faith and I just wanted to share this except from the book:
(This is from a conversation Albom has with his Rabbi friend, who the book largely centers around.)
So, have you solved the secret of happiness?
“I believe so,” he said.
Are you ready to tell me?
“For what you have. For the love you receive. And for the what God has given you.”
He looked me in the eye. Then he sighed deeply.
Good advise. I love this book so much. So far it’s my favorite of Albom’s…I have many pages ear-marked so that I can go back and read again soon. It’s tender and compassionate. It touches on the struggle of faith that is in all our hearts at one time or another. And it’s a quiet reminder of how not to judge too quickly, and to love each person as a human being rather than based on what we have (or haven’t) done in our life. Ironically, that was the basis of Pastor Brian’s sermon this morning in church. Um, someone trying to tell me something? I highly recommend this book.
Categories: Book Reviews, Faith, summer reading list
Tags: book review, books, Christian, Faith, have a little faith, jewish, mitch albom, summer reading, true story, tuesdays with morrie