The stories featured here help put a name and face with the letters ALS. Individuals who have a connection to Lou Gehrig’s Disease share their hopes when it comes to finding treatments and a cure. Join them and The ALS Association in creating a world without ALS.
Randy Ives is a passionate man. Passionate about his family, his job and about making a difference in the lives of others. “I’m a fighter. Always have been. No is not an answer – instead I say let’s see if we can make a change and make things better for people.”
So, when he got the confirmation that the arm weakness and the incessant tremors in his back were symptoms of ALS, he says “it was a sad day.” Then true to his nature he started looking for answers, looking for hope and he started making a difference.
Randy was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in May, 2018. He had spent some time on the internet looking at a possible diagnosis that would explain why he could no longer lift a gallon of milk off the shelf, and why his wife would tell him his back never stopped twitching all night long – even while he slept. He had an idea it was ALS.
Improvise, adapt and overcome. True to his marine training, Jeremy Holeman chose to hold his head high and face his diagnosis of ALS with strength and courage.
In August of 2016, at the age of 39, Jeremy Holeman found himself at The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter’s ALS clinic at the KU Medical Center. His hand had sunk in, his back was continuously twitching, and his doctor knew there was a problem. While at clinic, Dr. Jawdat gave him his diagnosis, and his first thought was, “How am I going to tell my wife, mother and son?”
“He’s my only child” says Sharon Arnold, “So when he showed up at my door after his appointment, I knew right away something was terribly wrong. He told me he had ALS. We both knew what that meant and we just hugged each other.”
His wife Laurie was “in serious denial.” She insisted they get a second opinion, sure the diagnosis was wrong. The trip to Mayo clinic was a confirmation of ALS. “Jeremy told us get your crying done tonight, tomorrow we get busy living.”
The three of them are not doing this alone. Team Holeman was born at the 2016 Walk to Defeat ALS, and has taken on a life of its own. Jeremy explains, “It’s a family of people. We love each other and they are here for me now, and will always be here for Laurie, my mom and my son.” Watch his video.
Anthony Vick spent 16 years serving his country in the Army and Air Force Reserves, including 10 years in the civil service. Vick says he was lucky to be able to serve his country, service that came to an end in 2017 when he was diagnosed with ALS.
“It was very slow to come about. It took about two years, probably 50 doctor visits, two surgeries and was set up to have a third surgery on my spine, and the week before I went in, my doctor referred me to another neurologist,” Vick says.
It was during that visit to the neurologist that Vick first learned that his symptoms might be related to ALS.
Studies consistently show that people who have served in the military, regardless of branch and whether serving during war or in peacetime, are more likely to be diagnosed with ALS.
“I’ve been pretty slow progressing, luckily. I like to think the big guy upstairs is blessing me and giving me strength. That’s why we use our motto Faith Over Fear,” Vick said.