My name is Jerry Creehan and this is my story.
For three years I wondered why I felt an odd weakness trying to climb stairs. I was also bewildered when in July of 2016, I fell flat on my face while visiting a valuable client. When I did one more face plant a couple of months later in a parking lot, I knew with certainty that I needed a visit to a specialist to explain my growing disability.
The visit to the specialist left me feeling like a suspect in an episode of 24, physically tortured at the end of an EMG needle! But nothing was worse than hearing the results. In January of 2017, I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and my world crashed. All the hopes of a happy retirement, enjoying some travel, and spending time with my grandkids suddenly seemed like a world away.
My second opinion came in February when I was fortunate enough to be seen by Dr. Vota and the multi-disciplinary team at the VCU Neurology, Orthopedic and Wellness Center. I say fortunate because my appointment went on for 4 hours with wave after wave of specialists, each one seemingly more compassionate and caring than the next. The denouement was when I learned that I need not pay for each of these specialists as they are paid at least in part by the Harper’s Hope fund. This experience brought me out of the gloom from the initial diagnosis and into a state excitement to advocate on behalf of all the organizations that come together in assistance of patients with ALS.
Why We Need Your Help
Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries; this crippling disease can strike anyone. Presently there is no known cause of the disease, though support is bringing researchers closer to an answer. In the meantime, it costs an average of $200,000 a year to provide the care ALS patients need.
What I Am Asking
First, please follow this page and contribute what you can. This is an exciting opportunity for us to work together to support those affected by Lou Gehrig’s Disease and to spread awareness of the urgency to find treatments and a cure.
This is an insidious and heart-breaking disease - yet I am here to say, just as Lou Gehrig once did,”I am the luckiest man alive.” I say that because in addition to my incredibly strong faith, I have such an amazing support group around me. People just like you who go out of their way to visit a page such as this and to join me with donations of time, service, and money.
The past two years have brought incredible advancements in ALS research, expanded access to care for ALS patients, and enabled legislation that impacts the quality of life of patients and their families.
This past August I was privileged enough to be the first patient in Virginia to receive a newly FDA approved drug (Radacava). This drug therapy is the first new drug approved to ALS patients in 22 years. WE CAN’T STOP NOW!
With your help, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of people affected by this disease. Help make a difference and donate or join a walk today.