I am Jerry Manning
a U.S. military veteran living with ALS,
living with ALS
It can be very emotionally draining to keep a positive outlook, but I will continue to fight the good fight until the good Lord feels I've filled my purpose here on Earth.
**We lost Jerry to ALS on October 23, 2021. Read his obituary here. His story, in his own words from 2020, is below.**
I am 66 years old. I live in Kansas and have been married to the strongest and most amazing woman I’ve ever known, for 43 wonderful years. I was a 3 sport letterman in high school and played baseball in college. While serving the Navy, I was selected to represent the Western Pacific region in the All Navy Softball tournament. In August of 2019, I was working in my daughter’s backyard, moving dirt and installing pavers. When my wife arrived to pick me up, my voice was hoarse. I thought it was allergies. Every time I would go outside and work my voice would get hoarse. I talked to my cardiologist and she thought it was reflux and ordered a series gastrointestinal exams. Nothing showed any signs of reflux. I then went to a ENT doctor to rule out problems with my vocal cord. Three months later I got into to see a Neurologist and he said he thought I had Bulbar ALS. He recommended I go to the Mayo Clinic and get a 2nd opinion. One week later I was in Rochester, MN. Three days after that I was diagnosed with ALS.
Since that diagnosis in March of 2020, I have lost my ability to speak and am slowly losing strength in my arms and legs. I use a cane most of the time to keep me from falling. I will be getting a walker in the next week and the doctor at the local VA just put in the order to start the process of getting a motorized wheelchair. We are being forced to sell our home and build a home that is designed for a person in a wheelchair. I am watching my family and others do things that I used to do and I hate it. I can’t read a book to my 2 yr old granddaughter or teach her colors and it breaks my heart. I can’t play golf or basketball with my 11 yr old grandson. I can’t tell my wife, kids or grandchildren I love them without a computer. ALS just takes you apart bit by bit.
My mind is in a constant battle with my body. My mind is saying keep fighting and my body is saying give up. It can be very emotionally draining to keep a positive outlook, but I will continue to fight the good fight until the good Lord feels I’ve filled my purpose here on Earth. I pray for every pALS and cALS and those that love them. This disease takes its toll on more than the person who has the disease. They all need our prayers.