I grew up throughout Northern California. I later settled in the beautiful Bay Area, where I met and married my wife of 32 years, Shelly. Together, we built a happy home with our two boys, Brian and Geremy, and our niece, Courtney, who moved in with us at a young age.
You can find us camping, fishing, or traveling somewhere new – if we’ve already made our twice-yearly Disneyland trips, that is! Also, we are very involved in a local faith organization, our kids’ swim team, and their high school band and choir. In short, doing things together means everything to us and we’re always on the go.
Things started to change about two years ago when I was unable to move my left shoulder. Shortly after, my left foot started to drag and my left arm was weakening. Then, the use of my left hand and my ability to write became almost impossible. I was referred to one of The ALS Association's Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence, where in January 2021, I received my ALS diagnosis.
At that time, I registered with the Golden West Chapter and gained access to their free Care Services, and I have been participating in the support groups with my Chapter Care Manager.
Life with ALS means I feel robbed of most of my independence. As someone who spent almost two decades building cabinets, and another 20 years as a public transit bus driver, I couldn’t believe my ability to work with my hands and to travel was coming to a halt. At 53 years old, I am now reliant on family and friends and a service dog and am unable to do many of the things I enjoyed so much.
But even in facing these challenges, I have so much I want to do, and I have found new ways to enjoy what I can do. In June, I got a group of 18 family members and friends to attend the Chapter’s Lou Gehrig Day celebration with the Oakland A’s. We all had special t-shirts made with unique phrases that said things like, “In this family, no one fights alone,” to help raise ALS awareness. I also had the privilege to give my testimony when I was invited to speak at the Splash to Defeat ALS, hosted by Chapter partners, Cytokinetics and Denali, in August 2022.
I want the general public to be informed and involved in finding cures for ALS. I want people to understand the difficulties people with mobility issues suffer in regards to public facilities – opening doors, finding bathrooms that accommodate wheelchairs, needing more room between tables for wheelchairs in restaurants, and so much more. So, I am calling on others to join me and to help raise ALS awareness and support!
My loved ones and I will be participating for the first time this year in not one but TWO Walk to Defeat ALS events in our area. I encourage everyone to find out more about ALS and to support the search to find effective treatments and cures.
I am so thankful to everyone that I have met in the ALS community. Seeing people willing to get involved is so inspiring to all of us who are facing this debilitating disease.
Together, we can be stronger than ALS.
All my best,
Father, Husband, and person with ALS
Walk to Defeat ALS Team, “Verville Family”
Proceeds from the Walk to Defeat ALS will provide critical funding for the Golden West Chapter's interdependent mission priorities related to essential care services, important public policy initiatives, and cutting-edge research.