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[personal profile] debgeisler
In October of 1988, William C. Geisler, a 54-year-old Korean War naval veteran, manager at Sears, Roebuck and Company, father, grandfather, and husband, succumbed to Lou Gherig's Disease, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He was my father, of course.

Dad did not live to see my wedding. He never met most of his grandchildren. The Internet didn't really exist when he was alive. There were no cell phones, nor iPods, nor...well, half of the tech in my car. When Dad took his last breath, Ronald Reagan was still the president of the United States, and the Soviet Union still existed.

When Dad found out he had ALS, the first thing he told us kids was, "It is almost never hereditary." He wanted us to know we didn't share his death sentence. My dad wasn't always the best person - lord knows he had his failings - but he didn't want us to face the sort of end he knew he would have. And he did have it. ALS is an ugly, brutal, horrifying end. It leaves the mind alive as it strips the body of strength, volition, and dignity.

How would my Dad feel about the ALS ice bucket challenge?

He'd laugh his ass off. He would crow that so many famous people are involved with this silliness so that they can draw attention to a killer people have ignored for too long. If he were still alive, he'd be right there with the ice brigade.

So, to those who say "it's all political," tough toenails. I mean, really, I do not care a whit what you say. If you haven't lost someone you love to ALS, your opinion about this absolutely does not matter to me.

Does every person "challenged" have to sit still and have ice water dumped on them? No. Am I absolutely delighted with the publicity this is all giving to ALS research and the amount of money being raised by the ALS Association? You bet your sweet bippy I am.

And bravo to all of the challengers, including former US President George W. Bush...and the lovely Laura Bush, of course.

According to the ALS Association, the ice bucket challenge has raised $31.5 million as of today. Excellent work.

on 2014-08-20 09:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mmegaera.livejournal.com
Every single person I've read about who has a direct connection to ALS has been thrilled with the ice bucket challenge, and it seems to me like you folks are the ones who should be passing that sort of judgment, not the people who don't know what that awful disease is like. JMHO.

on 2014-08-20 09:49 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] debgeisler.livejournal.com
Thank you, and you're right. I can't imagine many of us being upset at the attention this has drawn to ALS.

on 2014-08-21 02:59 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] cogitationitis.livejournal.com
My grandfather died of a version of ALS. First he went deaf, then he slowly got quieter, though he retained most of his bodily control until a few weeks before his death. I keep thinking how lucky he was to have that.

on 2014-08-21 01:59 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] debgeisler.livejournal.com
For sadder degrees of "lucky," I think. But, yes, the loss of all muscle control below the head...I wouldn't wish on anyone. (Then again, I would not want to be deaf, either. Living only inside my own head? *sigh* It's not a nice place.)
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