For those who are following the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, but don’t have a personal experience with the disease… Meet my dad, Kirby Galberth, Sr. He’s a guy you actually have a lot in common with. He spent his career running stores and regions for F.W. Woolworth. He was a handsome, charismatic, basketball-playing, two-step-dancing, amazing husband and father… Turned ALS Fighter.
He was diagnosed with the terrible disease during my junior year in high school and lived with it for seven years. By the end, he had lost all mobility of his limbs, he couldn’t speak or eat. At the same time, he kept a positive attitude and made somewhat of a ministry out of reminding people of life’s priorities — spirit, family and friends. There is no known cause or cure for this disease.
During my father’s illness, resources from the ALS Association taught him how to use a laptop to go online even when he couldn’t use his hands. They equipped him with software that would speak his words even when his voice no longer worked. They helped transport him to/from my high school graduation. The research and services they provide helped my family tremendously AND helped ensure my dad had a quality life despite how things may have looked to outsiders.
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has brought worthy attention to a disease that doesn’t have the awareness or research funding that it deserves. As of today, Ice Bucket Challenge donations to the ALS Association are up to $53.3 million (compared to $2.2 million in donations during the same period last year). The ALS Association has tracked 1.1 million new donors as a result of the movement.
Over the past two weeks, every time I see someone dump ice water over their head, I’m reminded of the millions who live with this awful disease. I’m reminded of every family member and friend who has to watch a loved one slowly become trapped in his or her own body while their mind remains sharp and unscathed. I’m reminded of every doctor, nurse and researcher who shows compassion for ALS patients through their work.
I’m so thankful to every person who has jumped on the bandwagon — whether they’ve donated or just dumped ice water over their heads — they are making a statement to help raise awareness and funding to support a deserving community.
Here’s to finding a cure!
In loving memory of my dad.
If have not read a personally story about ALS, here is a story from my Wife about her Father. #als #icebucketchallenge