I am Eliot Andre
a family member of someone living with ALS
My dad, my bro, a person I have always looked up too and sought love from.
An Adonis, a stud athlete and a man to NEVER be messed with in the low post; the kind of man that defines strength. My dad, my bro, a person I have always looked up too and sought love from. (Let’s be real, the man just gets me and all my quirks….I don’t know how). Why does this person I care about so deeply have to be the person that receives this life altering diagnosis, this death sentence that will progressively strip him of that strength that feels integral to the man I hold in my heart?
Truthfully, it’s not fucking fair. I’ve asked myself and the powers that be countless of times, why? Why would you do this to MY DAD!? What did he do to deserve this? Did he really have to get diagnosed the year I chose to leave the family business, move to Colorado, start my own business and completely revamp my own life? How is my mom going to handle this? My brothers? My extended family? Our friends and employees? These were just a few of the many question that were spiraling furiously through my head.
It was like any normal day in the beautiful city of Chicago, working in our family business. I went to the store, sold some shoes, chit-chatted with the gorgeous and powerful women that shop at Loris’s. Near the end of the day, my dad offered to give me a ride home from work and if you know him…this never, ever happens! I can think back to the moment like it was yesterday, the dialogue we expressed seared into my brain.
I said, “Pops, it’s cool, I got my bike,” he asked again and this time I could hear insistence in his voice, which really got my mind spinning. At this point, I thought to myself, “something is up”.
Fast forward to our drive home, small talk, the usual, just skimming the surface unless something is an absolute necessity to bring up. We pull up to my apartment complex and park. Without any intro or hesitation, he lays it on me! “El, I have ALS,”… silence… more silence. Feelings of discomfit start to flood my nervous system, I confusingly ask with a tremor in my voice, “You have WHAT?”
In all my conversations with the loved ones, like myself, on the periphery of this terrible disease, the question I hear over and over again is, Why? You’re a foreign creature; a small, yet powerful and relentless one. You move quickly, you don’t discriminate and you take no prisoners, ripping every ounce of strength and muscular function from your host but keeping all brain function intact. You have the ability to lock people into their own body with no remorse…..and WHY?….because you can! You’re a disease that attacks the nervous system, that has taken the lives of incredible and influential people in this world and again I’ll ask WHY? Because you can, we don’t know enough about you to truly know.
“How long do you have dad?” I said, as I exited the car. He can’t answer me. He tells me most people with ALS live 1-5 years with their disease. He states that every person has their own journey with fighting ALS, I tell him, “pops if I know anyone, you’re going to kick this disease’s ass.”
4 years later, the Adonis, the stud athlete, my bro, is living his life, with the support of the community, his family and friends a like he will not let this disease take anything away from him. I want to tell YOU something, Fuck you, ALS, the time is now and time is right. We will find a cure.
Another ALS warrior to another.