The Vets For Vets Team wants to bring awareness to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. Lou Gehrig’s disease is also another way of referring to ALS. The month of May is officially ALS awareness month. Our CEO & President, Shawn E. Carvin Sr., has endured and lived with it for 5+ years. It has been devastating for not only him and learning his new lifestyle but his family as well. Every day is a challenge, there are no easy days. Thankfully, he has a wonderful support system around him. His loving wife, Lisa Carvin, and his son who is mature beyond his years, Tyler Carvin, are at his side assisting with his living needs daily. Tyler’s longtime girlfriend and now a pivotal part of our family, Rebekah Durkee, has dedicated herself to assisting with the needs of Mr. Carvin as well. Unfortunately, not everyone gets this luxury. There are those who suffer alone, or even only have interaction with others in a medical setting. Everyone’s situation is different.
Let’s talk about what ALS is. Per The ALS Foundation website (https://www.als.org/), “Amyotrophic comes from the Greek language. A means no. Myo refers to muscle. Trophic means nourishment. So, amyotrophic means no muscle nourishment, and when a muscle has no nourishment, it atrophies or wastes away.”. Keeping this in mind, the disease literally attacks your spinal cord. It eats at the nerve cells that signal and control where the muscles are located. Eventually, this progresses to the point where the individual can no longer walk, talk, eat, move, or breathe. Reflect on that for just a moment. You lose the key things that allow you to live a happy life. That is really depressing, even for me to type. You are literally stripped away from life’s joys and happiness faster than you realize. Unfortunately, this is the reality of anyone living through it. I wish I can sit here and tell you something happy related to it. The only positive thing I can think of is the family member living with it is still around. You still have the chance to show love and care for them, as they are at war every day with their invisible enemy.
Everyone’s progression with ALS is so very different. Some people are fortunate and had to deal with the minor effects of it for decades. Others quickly and unfortunately passed away within a couple of years. Mr. Carvin’s progression started slow, but after diagnosis, it sped up and he quickly lost the ability to walk and use his body. He now has to use technology to communicate his needs to his caregivers. It’s heartbreaking, not only for him but his family. Thankfully, his mind is still there. The genius Marine/IT Professional is still pushing to make every day count. Everyone else that is affected is still pushing too. This isn’t just our story. This is an everyday story for many people out there. Stay safe and always remember to show your loved one you are there for them. You never know when this tragedy can strike, and then it becomes a quick and harsh reality for anyone.