One of our board members, Dave Martin, introduced us to the story of Brett Snyder. A young father of two, diagnosed over 10 years ago, Brett’s approach to life has inspired all those around him, including his old friend Jennifer Fox, who wrote in asking for help. After reading this statement below for his “Tackle ALS Foundation”, we’ve become inspired by him as well:

“In this day and age it is hard to believe that an illness exist without a cure. Yet every year 5,000 new people are diagnosed with ALS and thousands more die. I for one find this totally unacceptable. More attention needs to be focused on this disease for a cure to be found. We can no longer afford for ALS to hide in obscurity.

I would like to thank everyone for their love and support in my ongoing fight against ALS. It is only when we are put into a challenging situation that we can determine our true character and the character of our friends. When life knocks you down what will you do? Will you choose to get up and fight in the face of adversity? Will your friends and loved ones be there to help you? Through the strength of my Lord Jesus Christ and the love and support of my friends, family, and community I chose to get up and fight.

Since being diagnosed with this illness, I have felt a variety of  emotions. I have asked myself many questions, “Have I done something wrong? What if I die today?” The most puzzling question of all was simply, “Why?” This question deserves no answer. I have found only more questions behind it. The focus should not be why, it should be what, “What will I do?” I will continue to fight. Worrying will not change the present situation; in fact it will only make things worse. This doesn’t mean I’m not scared. I am scared, but I would rather spend my time living instead of fearing the future.

I don’t want people to pity me. In my 29 years on this earth I have
experienced enough great moments to fill 29 lifetimes. I’m not dead yet and I plan on living many more years, having many more great experiences. I plan to live. Every minute, every hour, every day to the fullest. I will not have regrets about things I haven’t done only joyous memories of things I have done.

This challenge is proving to be the toughest obstacle I’ve faced in my young life. Put into perspective, this illness is just that, another obstacle to overcome. ALS has never faced an opponent like me. I will never yield nor give in nor stop fighting. I will win! I am the new face of ALS and I challenge all who are willing to join me in the fight to tackle ALS.”

– Brett Synder

Jennifer reached out to us on behalf of Brett for help with new assistive technology. His old machine had been crashing so he needed an updated one. We wanted to help. And we did.

The coolest part of this story is that at the same time we got the request for technology help, we received an email from an old friend of Steve and Michel’s named David Zanca.

“So, help me understand, there are ALS patients that can’t afford the tablet that Steve has that allows him to communicate with his eyes.  With $6,000 you can give an ALS patient that is basically silenced now the ability to communicate?”

When given yes as the answer, David wrote:

“Ok, I’m in for one, for now.  $6000 coming your way! Thanks for all the foundation does!”

So, with the money donated by David Zanca to The Gleason Initiative Foundation, we were able to purchase a new Tobii/Tablet kit for Brett Synder. Thanks to David! And thanks to Brett for inspiring all of us at Team Gleason.