National ALS Awareness Month activities include proclamations
issued by cities and states. The proclamations include a passage
that acknowledges the higher prevalence of veterans with ALS.
Statistics suggest that the chances Thew will see his 10-year-old
son graduate from high school or walk his daughter down the aisle
are slim. On average, the survival rate for people living with ALS
is two to five years from the time of diagnosis.
"Not being able to play sports or any type of physical activity
with my son -- that's something I deeply regret, more for his sake
than my own," said Thew, grandfather to a 2-year-old.
"I know my son wants to do more with me than he lets on, and that
really hurts. He's been robbed of his childhood and of a father that
most kids take for granted."
The ALS Association will fight for Thew, whose favorite saying is
"Never give up," and everyone with ALS, until a cure is discovered.
"It is important that their voices and the voices of every single
person with ALS be heard in Washington, D.C., and be echoed in the
state halls across the country," said Stevan Gibson, vice president
of government relations and public affairs for the association. "It
is critical to the struggle to defeat this terrible disease that the
people and leaders of our community be educated and aware of the
disease, as well as the issue confronting those who are affected by
Thew now spends his days mainly confined to a power wheelchair,
watching television and checking e-mail for the latest advancements
in ALS research.
"My strength and my ability to do things have been stolen by ALS,
and yet, thanks to the support from my wife, Kumiko, and the ALS
Association, this disease will not steal my determination for a cure
one day," Thew said.
The association is the nation's only national not-for-profit
voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against
ALS. For more information, call Gary Wosk at 818- 587-2241 or visit
You will find another inspirational story,
Attitude Helps Writer Live with ALS," posted by the ALS