By Eric Andrews, Associate Director of Development and Events at The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter.
My name is Eric Andrews, I am a 2nd generation San Diego native, and I lost my dad, Bill Andrews, to ALS in October 2017. Our family’s journey with ALS was no doubt the saddest and hardest thing we ever encountered. But we managed to stay strong through it, and the entire experience brought us all even closer together. In the end, it became the most special and magical journey our family ever had together.
We had a wonderful support system with friends and family to make that happen, but there is no doubt we were able to navigate the disease as well as we did because of the assistance we received from the Greater San Diego Chapter. After my dad’s passing, I thought a lot about how ALS affected our family, how the Chapter played such an important role for us, and so I left my career to join this chapter team and help do for other families what the chapter did for mine.
The most important thing The ALS Association did for our family was they helped provide resources for my Dad to do all the things he wanted to do while living with ALS. Dad wanted to learn more about ALS and meet other people living with it, so we took advantage of chapter support groups and the ALS clinic at UCSD. Dad wanted to remain independent as long as possible, so the chapter lent us bathroom and home modification equipment to make that happen. Dad wanted to inspire more scientists to find a cure by helping to put another face to the disease, the chapter provided opportunities for him to do so.
Maybe most importantly was the help around mobility. When we couldn’t find a mobility van in our price range within 300 miles of San Diego, the chapter helped us find one. And when Dad had a three-month delay with insurance to get his motorized wheelchair, the chapter delivered him one within 24 hours of us calling. Those two things in particular were of extreme significance because they helped him do the things he absolutely wanted most – to see his family, to go to the beach to see his old surf spots and tell stories with friends, visit places he hadn’t been, and to see and spend as much time with his grandkids as possible. He loved to watch them swim, do gymnastics, play soccer, baseball, football, and the piano – I’ll forever be grateful for the chapter’s help in allowing him to live his life with ALS like he wanted.
In my position now, what I enjoy doing most is working with so many wonderful people in the ALS community. From people living with ALS, spouses, sons, daughters, caregivers, walk team captains, chapter board and committee members, partners, vendors, donors, or any one of our incredible volunteers - every single day is a reminder of the amazing, beautiful, and life-changing work that happens when people who care come together. Our ALS community is filled with the most loving and inspirational people I’ve ever met and it’s an honor to be a part of it.
My name is Eric Andrews and we are in this together.