|Colin with friends and his godson, Kendall Graham
at the 2012 Dodgers 4ALS Awareness Day
Colin Campbell is a 9th generation Ohioan. He received his Bachelor's in 1982 and Masters in 1985, both in Geography from Ohio State
University. After living through the second blizzard in three years,
with wind-chill factors as low as 54 below zero, he was
watching a football game on television that was being played in San
Diego. He saw people in short sleeves and wearing
bikinis and thought to himself, "California is the place I need to be."
for a private research firm working on statitical and probability
analysis. He then transitioned over to a position at Cal Tech as a
researcher working with super computers in the infancy of "cloud
computing", and then took a position at Cal State LA, where he managed
over 3,000 desktop and laptop computers. He remained at Cal State LA
for over 17 years. "I got to manage a team of people and there was a
great deal of satisfaction in working together and getting things done,"
Colin said. "I find a great deal of pleasure in figuring things out. I
was lucky to have a team who liked that too."
In hindsight, Colin may have had symptoms of ALS as early as in 2004. Campbell
started having trouble with fine motor control in 2005; he noticed that he started losing at video games when he would be playing with friends over the internet. But it
was in November 2006, he really noticed the first signs
when his right index finger curled and wouldn't straighten. He went to see his
doctor, who then referred him to a neurologist. He was worked up for
many different conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome and
peripheral neuropathy. The doctor then ordered an EMG. The results were
all sent directly to his doctor, but no explanation was given. After a
month, Campbell contacted his doctor to find out what was going on. His
primary doctor then had to deliver the news - Colin had ALS. He then saw
a different neurologist who repeated the EMG and confirmed the
diagnosis. "There is a great deal of frustration and anxiety, followed by fear, doubt, and finally acceptance," said Campbell. "I am sure that it is like this for many people. There were also several people in my life that found it too difficult and withdrew from me as well."
Since that time, Colin has visited the Forbes Norris ALS Treatment and
Research Center at CPMC, an ALS Association Certified Center of
Excellence, and also the multi-diciplinary clinics at UCLA and Loma
Linda. "It is a different world being seeing at a multi-disciplinary center," said Colin. "The people in these clinics are incredible, compassionate, highly skilled, and they really seem to understand what you are going through. It is a must for any person with ALS to be seen at one of these centers or clinics". He has visited China several times for medical treatments as well.
Colin deeply appreciates the resources of The ALS Assocation Golden West Chapter.
"My care manager is fantastic and the support groups have been a great
help." His assistant Christina Fonseca has been a part of his journey with ALS and shared, “It is such
a wonderful experience working with Colin, and he teaches me something
It was in
2012 that he decided that he wanted to be a part of the Inland Empire
Walk to Defeat ALS. “I thought it was a great opportunity to meet others
disease," Campbell said. "I am also very grateful to The ALS Association
for all of the
resources, training, and opportunities." He created "Campbell's Souper Team" and quickly organized others in the community to join his efforts. "The experience of forming a Walk team gave me a
chance to work again," Campbell said. "I was too young to have retired. I loved working with my colleagues at Cal State LA and missed this team aspect in my life. "
|Colin at the 2012 Dodgers
4ALS Awareness Day
Christina serves as the team's "first lieutenant" and Colin's girlfriend, Teesa Chmielewski serves as the "second lieutenant." Campbell shares, "Teesa
is so much more than my girlfriend. Her hard work at helping me
maintain my home with her incredibly versatile talents is only
overshadowed by her daily visits filled with love that help me to fight
on! What is even more amazing is that she does all this as an award
winning manager at CalTech and raising a teenage daughter. She is a true Super
"Working with Colin and his Campbell's Souper Team
in the fight against ALS has been truly inspiring," said Jamie Aronson,
Assistant Events Coordinator for the Golden West Chapter. They have
gone above and beyond with their Walk team and have already blown their
original fundraising goal out of the water! The success and dedication
of Campbell's Souper Team gives me confidence that the Inland Empire
Walk will indeed reach and even surpass its $60,000 goal.
Colin adds, " My biggest contributor is someone that I have known since kindergarten".
Campbell continues to apply his collaborative nature to his fight with
ALS. "I hope that I can reach people who are 'frozen' with the news of
their diagnosis. No one else is going to help you like you will.
"If you make
a small effort, like going to a support group meeting, it will really
change the way you feel about your disease. For me, every time I have
gone to one, I make a new friend and learn something."