I know we've all seen, or perhaps even been a part of, the ALS ice bucket challenge frenzy. All of the press and attention the organization gained made the disease seem almost like it wasn't a disease at all. Because ALS is so rare and fatal, I never thought it would ever personally affect me- until this past weekend.
My family's close friends from New Jersey came to visit us, and the husband was diagnosed with ALS about four months ago. I've known for a while that Arthur [Cohen] had been officially diagnosed with the disease, but upon actually seeing him, it was hard to wrap my brain around the reality that this despicable "thing" was actually effecting him now.
Now, I understand this may sound like a cliché blog post, but Arthur has truly accepted the idea of the "power of positivity." Not only does he face every single day with a smile and a thumbs up, (his trademark sign), but he refuses to let the disease keep him from doing the things he loves including his successful career as a photographer, or running his non-profit organization called Pickals. (They make pickles and sell them to donate money for the ALS foundation.)
It's terribly sad, and even ironic, to see the most energetic and talkative person I know, deteriorate before my eyes, although he refuses to see things that way. Even though he can't tie his own shoes, put on his watch, or cut his own food, he smiles and winks at me, his thumbs up high in the air. Instead of giving up, Arthur has chosen to live his life the way he wants to, embracing his disease, and the many bumps in the road that will follow.