Grove City man fights ALS with son's help
Local fifth-grader Sam Timmons has been knocking on doors recently asking residents in his parent's and grandparent's neighborhoods for money.
Sam is not collecting for a paper route. He's not selling magazines for school. He's not collecting money for a Boy Scout trip. He's asking people in Grove City to help his dad, Kenny, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Fifteen people per day in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS, or 5,600 new cases per year, according to ALS's Web site. Roughly 30,000 Americans have the disease. Seymour said there are 450 ALS patients in the 56 Ohio counties of the Central & Southern chapter of ALSA. No exact figures pinpointing greater Columbus are available, she said.
ALS patients gradually lose muscle control until they become paralyzed and the disease is eventually fatal.
"I couldn't hit a golf ball over 170 yards and I knew that something was wrong," Timmons said.
After the doctor's diagnosis, "I was devastated. She told me I had three to five years." Another doctor told Timmons, some ALS patients live more than a decade.
Timmons said he went through a hard period of anger and jealousy.
"I was angry at God. I would see other dads at baseball fields throwing a baseball or kicking a soccer ball with his kids and I couldn't do that. And I was jealous. I knew I shouldn't be. I thought why me."
After Timmons started attending healing services at Grove City United Methodist Church on Columbus Streets he said he woke up one morning, "I was down and I looked at my self in the mirror and and said, You can either live with this or die from it. Every day I get down on myself I tell myself that."
And his friends, he said, have been coming out in scores to help him.
"I don't know how someone could go through something like this without a support system like I've got."