February 2022
by Tim Pelman

The past few months for me have been overwhelming to say the least.  I would like to introduce myself to you. I am a Louisiana native with an amazing family and support group. I was recently diagnosed with ALS on July 15, 2021. I can remember going to the doctor that day and the doctor turning to me and asking me if I had ever heard of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. I told her I’m from the New Orleans area and I would have had to have been living under a rock not to know what that disease was. 

Everyone has heard of Steve Gleason and his diagnosis by now, so I thought, “this was a lot to take in.” I was there staring into space hearing her, but not hearing at the same time. It was like I was in a dream, but I was awake. I thought, “this can’t be happening. I am too young for this.” My world is about to change big time. I had to be strong at that moment. I knew somehow I / we would get through this. With my beautiful family by my side, I could accomplish anything. I just didn’t know how things were going to play out for me.

When we told my mother in law, she was devastated, but she assured us things would be okay. She went on to tell us that she would reach out to Team Gleason. Not more than a few hours went by before we got in touch. Team Gleason has been there for us every step of the way since the first phone call. They have helped us from feeding tube instructions to employer benefits. Without their help, I would be at a loss. They have provided me with an adventure of a lifetime to New York and a portable power wheelchair that has helped me tremendously. Without the wheelchair it would have been impossible for me to navigate the streets of New York. I felt normal and was so grateful for the opportunity given to me from Team Gleason. The team at Team Gleason is a godsend and I am not sure where I would be without them.

We faced many challenges trying to navigate ourselves through the streets of New York. We had never been there before and being in a wheelchair and having a tall family also made things a challenge just to get rides from taxis. Most taxi drivers were courteous, but you had your few that weren’t so accommodating. Without the help of your organization donating the wheelchair to me, it would have been impossible for me to see New York in person. I really appreciate it, because without your help, the trip would not be a success.

We were able to see the Statue of Liberty, The 911 Memorial and The Van Gogh Experience. We also had a private photography session in Central Park. My favorite part of the entire trip was the family togetherness. We were together as a family, during Christmas and in New York. What a better way to spend time as a family. Team Gleason made this bucket list trip possible. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.