There are times throughout our lives we are profoundly influenced by forces beyond our control. Losing a family member to a life-altering disease is one such force that is deeply personal and leaves a lasting effect. My father-in-law, Larry Steele, was diagnosed on March 18, 2013 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. The average life expectancy of an ALS patient is 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
My family and I watched helplessly from the sideline as Larry (a husband, father, and grandfather who had a fun and vibrant life and an amazing relationship with his daughter and my wife, Kelly) get turned upside down by this horrible disease. One day, Larry was a 70-year-old father of 6, grandfather of 12, and a great-grandfather of 4, who played basketball with his neighbors and bicycled around Hernando, Florida.
It was devastating for Kelly, and our sons, Matthew and Joseph, to watch this awful disease progress. My oldest son was about 5 and couldn’t understand why his grandfather, who would put him on his shoulders and walk around the zoo, now didn’t have the strength to get out of bed. Larry lost the ability to speak quickly after diagnosis and, finally, to move any limbs. I am thankful Larry did, at least, get to enjoy a short time with my youngest son, who was 2 at the time.
In less than 3 years from his diagnosis, Larry lost his battle against ALS. He fought hard, but ALS progressed quickly. Sadly, Larry passed away at his home with his wife by his side on July 22, 2015.
We are not alone! Every 90 minutes, someone in this country is diagnosed with ALS while someone else lost his/her battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries or prejudice. This crippling disease can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Presently, there is no known cause of ALS; yet, it costs loved ones an average $200,000 per year to provide care ALS patients need. This is why we need your help!
Because of this, Galaxy Builders, Inc. annually supports the North Florida ALS Association. The ALS Foundation has helped make great strides on the way to finding a cure for this disease. You may be familiar with the “Ice Bucket Challenge”; this raised $115,000,000 to help scientists discover a gene common in many ALS patients. We cannot give near that amount; but even a gift as small as $10 will help.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by ALS. Our team, Larry’s Leprechauns, is committed to raising money to support residents of our local community with ALS and spreading awareness of the urgency to find treatment and a cure.
From our family to yours, thank you!
Mike, Kelly, Matthew, & Joseph