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Read to Defeat ALS

There are many ways to support the ALS community, including by reading a good book! Please take a look at the list below of the many individuals who have shared their stories, and are donating a portion of their book sales back to the Golden West Chapter.  And be sure to purchase the books through and select “The ALS Association Golden West Chapter” as the charity of your choice, for an additional donation of 0.5% of eligible purchases!

Ryan Farnsworth- “Seeds of Light Sown” and “Insights to Light the Way”

Ryan Farnsworth was diagnosed with ALS in October 2015 at the age of 29. Soon after his diagnosis, Ryan and his family connected with The ALS Association Golden West Chapter. As active ambassadors of the mission of The ALS Association, they selflessly moved us closer to our vision to create a world without ALS. Through “Team Ryan,” Ryan and his loved ones have participated in Golden West Chapter community outreach events including our Walks to Defeat ALS in Fresno, Monterey, Santa Rosa and the Silicon Valley, the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, and our Champions for Cures and Care. Since 2016, Team Ryan has had over 120 participants and raised over $21,000 to fuel the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS.

During his battle with ALS, Ryan maintained a positive outlook on life while embracing the journey with hope and optimism. Seeds of Light Sown was Ryan's first self-published poetry book, written with love and a heartfelt desire to help others. His inspirational words inspire us to seek out and embody the best versions of ourselves by encouraging us to appreciate the beauty of life right now, for there is no reason to wait!

On February 19, 2019, Ryan Farnsworth died at the age of 32, surrounded by his loving family. Ryan was working on a second book that he asked his family to complete for him.  "Insights to Light the Way: Lessons From Life and ALS About Living Well," was just published by his family on Monday, September 28, 2020. The book is a genuinely beautiful must-read of Ryan's experience and realizations from life and living with ALS.

“From a young age, I sensed that the keys to a happy and fulfilled experience of living could only be found within. Some part of me knew that the keys to liberation from a limited and contracted experience of life existed, and a spiritual path provided those tools and ideas that would allow me to unlock what was locked within myself so that I could experience a more fulfilled and enjoyable life. It wasn’t until I began to experience the physical limitation brought on by ALS that I really began to focus on personal and spiritual growth, however. Something about the realization that my life could be far shorter than I had ever anticipated woke me up to the realization that I didn’t want to wait to experience more peace, love, and joy. I didn’t want to wait to be happy.” - Ryan Farnsworth


 Harry Wittenberg- “Out of Control: Reflections on Matters of Life and Death”

Harry Wittenberg was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. After his diagnosis, Harry still maintained a positive outlook on life and continues to try to live his life to the fullest. He even started a blog about how he has adapted his life while living with ALS. Through Team Wittenberg of the East Bay Walk to Defeat ALS, Harry and his friends and family have been great supporters of the ALS community. Team Wittenberg was the top fundraising team for the East Bay Walk in 2019 and raised over $20,000!

Harry hopes that you will support him in his advocacy efforts in the fight against ALS by purchasing his book,”Out of Control: Reflections on Matters of Life and Death” and also consider donating to The ALS Association Golden West Chapter.


Reynaldo Santa Cruz- “Pulido del Barrio Libre: The Life of Reynaldo M. Santa Cruz”

Reynaldo Santa Cruz, who sadly lost his wife, Rosie, to ALS in 2012 recently finished a book about the life of his father. In honor of his wife and in support of our ALS community, he is donating a portion of this book to his team, “Rosie's Squad” as part of the Golden West Chapter’s East Bay Walk to Defeat ALS.

"This groundbreaking book is a major contribution enhancing our better understanding of Mexican Americans on several historic levels: baseball, military, family, community, labor, culture, and generational linkages. This extraordinary story employs vintage photos to tell a much larger sequence of events outside the diamond, a tale of a proud people who incorporated sports as political instruments designed to embolden and further their civil, gender, cultural, and social rights.” —Dr. Richard A. Santillán, Author and Professor Emeritus of ethnic and Women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona


Chris Mavraeidis- “Falling in Love with Baseball”

Chris Mavraedis, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, turned to writing as he gradually lost his ability to talk. He began posting on baseball blogs and sending emails to baseball friends. His writing was well received and was featured by Marty Lurie on KNBR and on the CSNBA’s website. For several years, Chris’ friend, Bob Sockolov—one of the principal partners of the San Francisco Giants - encouraged Chris to publish some of his writings. In 2016, Bob, his wife Audrey, and their granddaughter, Jill (who is a graphic artist), created a layout for a book. A year later, after much hard work by all involved, Falling in Love With Baseball was published on May 19th, 2017 by Chronicle Books of San Francisco. Chris and Bob were honored with the Golden West Chapter’s 2017 Spotlight Award for their efforts to raise awareness and support for the ALS community.


Dr. C. Thomas Peter - “Stories of My Life: Some Short, Some Tall”

Dr. C. Thomas Peter, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, is a world-renowned expert in Electrophysiology and an Emeritus Professor at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. He wrote “Stories of My Life: Some Short, Some Tall” solely through the use of an eye-controlled word processor. Follow Dr. C. Thomas Peter as he shares his life story and recounts some of his life’s most cherished memories—from his life starting in the southern Indian state of Kerala, to Australia, to New Zealand, and finally to Los Angeles. He also pays tribute to the individuals who have shaped him. 100% of the proceeds from Dr. Peter’s book will be donated to the Golden West Chapter. Be sure to purchase the book through AmazonSmile and select “The ALS Association Golden West Chapter” as the charity of your choice!


Ismail Tsieprati - “One Blink at a Time”

One Blink at a Time is Ismail and Cheryl Tsieprati's story of living with ALS for 30 years. One Blink at a Time is upbeat, inspiring and full of optimism as Ismail and Cheryl recount in alternating chapters how they deal with their daily challenges. Although ALS has stolen Ismail's ability to move, speak, even to breathe on his own, it has not taken away his determination to live a happy and productive life. Ismail spelled out his chapters using eye blinks, letter by letter, word by word. Cheryl and Ismail's distinctive voices add to the impact of this exceptional book. Full of practical advice from training caregivers to preparing for emergencies to surviving the hospital, the book also includes an extensive glossary and resources for anyone dealing with ALS and other disabling conditions. But above all else, One Blink at a Time is an inspiring love story. Ismail and Cheryl are as devoted to one another today as they were the day they were married 44 years ago!