Reflections on David’s Old Silver Swim by Our Friend David Garber

Dear Supporters of David’s Old Silver Swim,

I am a fortunate man. When I was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, I understood that my life as I knew it would end. I had always been an active person: swimming, dentistry, gardening, always rushing. At times I saw what I would lose (the ability to walk, feed myself, and speak), but I came to see what I had to gain.

I am living in a different world from the one I’d inhabited pre-diagnosis. No longer dashing out to swim before dinner, but getting pleasure from walks through my neighborhood. I relish being with family and friends as they eat, talk, play games while I enjoy my meal through a feeding tube. I love my caregivers and learn so much from them. My life is full: concerts, dining out, plays, community events, even travel. Bit by bit, I developed a new, vibrant life. Little did I know just how much I would be able to thrive, still living large 12 years after my diagnosis.

In March of 2020, normal life came crashing to a halt. The trip to New Orleans I was planning had to be canceled, socializing became too risky, and the 10th Annual David’s Old Silver Swim pivoted to a virtual event. We all missed out on so many things last year that we had taken for granted: hugs with loved ones, laughing with friends, travel, restaurants, the list goes on. Yet here we are, at the beginning of what we hope is the end of the pandemic, ready to resume our lives with a renewed sense of how much we love it.

Fundraising for Compassionate Care ALS, the organization that has done so much for me and for others living with ALS, has been one of the few things that hasn’t changed since my diagnosis. This past year, we have seen many organizations go above and beyond, redefining what essential work is. Undoubtedly, CCALS is an essential resource for those living with ALS, from providing wheelchairs and communication devices to offering emotional and community support. At a time when fundraising has become more diffuse and challenging, their work and needs persist.

Most people who are diagnosed with ALS aren’t lucky enough to mark their 5th, much less their 10th anniversary with the disease. Many people weren’t fortunate enough to make it through the past 15 months, to return to their old normal. Yet here we are, looking ahead to the 11th Annual David’s Old Silver Swim. I am thrilled to be back in person at the Sea Crest Hotel on Old Silver Beach on August 7, watching swimmers race for their scallop shell medals. Swim registration and an opportunity to donate can be found at our website at

I know that I am a fortunate man. I cannot thank you enough for your past generosity and support. It’s what keeps me going, keeps CCALS going, and I hope we can count on you again.