FALSArmy

FALSArmy    MATT JUNE...

  When I was diagnosed with ALS in September of 2009, it was a slap in the face. I never got sick, was very active, the picture of perfect health. How could this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? The words "two to five year lifespan upon diagnosis" rang in my ears. I have young children, how could I miss out on their life accomplishments?
  
After a few months of drowning in the doldrums of depression, I took a different approach. Instead of looking at my diagnosis as a death sentence, I began to look at it as a life sentence. Meaning it was time to accept what my fate will eventually be and living each day to the fullest. Every day I still have a bad moment or two, but I don't let it keep me down. I laugh. I smile. Everyday is a battle in itself. I win every single one because I believe.
   Over fourteen years of coaching area youth in various sports I have made some great friends with strong bonds. Coaching was my passion and my love. Guiding kids to achievements and hopefully being a positive influence through victories and defeats helped us all. I always stressed to the kids to believe in themselves. They are capable of so many things. We all are.
   I signed on to give my life for my country when I joined the army in 1990. Although veterans are twice as likely to contract ALS, I didn't agree to die this way. So, I have created my own army...the F*ALS Army! It consists of friends and family members who support me in my battle against Lou Gehrig's Disease. We attend Walks to Defeat ALS, Rides to Defeat ALS, speak out whenever we can and raise much needed funds for the ALS Association and the ALS Therapy Development Institute. With recent breakthroughs, I HAVE TO BELIEVE the cure is not far off.
   I mentioned the support of family and friends. Mitch, Dylan and Rachael provide me with so much strength. Wanting to be there and share in their ups and downs of life is a driving force. My parents have always been there for me and I love them more than they will ever know. Another pillar of strength is Jackie and her love. She has only known me post-diagnosis so she knows nothing of how I used to be. Her unconditional love and support is one of the greatest blessings of my life. 
   I am nearly two years into my fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and I am doing well. I can still walk short distances and still self-sufficient. My speech is unaffected and my spirit and personality will never be broken. I WILL be around to see the cure/effective treatment. I BELIEVE in miracles...I HAVE TO.
 

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