Dreams come in many forms and life is lived as one finds it. We don’t get to choose; we just get to respond.
One unexpected advantage of having ALS is that I have had time to look back at how fortunate I have been. I had a special childhood with wonderful parents, sisters, and a large and loving extended family; two outstanding daughters, and a successful professional practice (I loved being a dentist!). I developed ALS at age 58 and sold my dental practice soon after the diagnosis in 2009. At loose ends after that and with no real understanding of what the future would hold, I went on a cross country car trip (although I could no longer reliably steer toward the end), I lived in Israel for a year and half seeking experimental stem cell therapy (the result of which only a deranged optimist would find encouraging – of course I was one), I sought out advice and support from close friends and from others far and wide, and I determined that I would live large for whatever time I had left. Or, as I like to say, I would continue to swing for the fences.
Throughout my life I have tried to be a builder of community: I have had leadership positions at my temple, the Cape Cod Dental Society, the Falmouth Educational Foundation, and Falmouth Hospital. I have held these institutions dear while never losing focus on my neighborhood, my patients, and especially my family. I feel that I have been honest with myself and with others and have lived my life with both integrity and intensity. I have tried to lead by action as well as by intention, and I’m not done yet! ALS has slowed down my body (pretty much stopped it in its tracks) but has only strengthened my spirit.
Another of the benefits of ALS is that I’ve been fortunate enough to see the kindness and generosity in so many, from close friends to the community at large. Nine years ago, my neighbors came up with the idea of creating a swim in my honor. They rallied family and friends to plan David’s Old Silver Swim, and despite an inauspicious first swim held during Hurricane Irene of 2010, this same group has come together year after year to create what has become The Event of the Summer. I was humbled and appreciative, but in that first year and every year
Since, I have leapt (figuratively) at the chance to give back to the broader ALS community served by CCALS, an organization that has provided so much for me.
Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS) tailors a broad range of services to meet the needs of individuals with ALS and their families – services not typically covered by insurance. Their expertise, guidance, equipment, and technical support has helped me maintain my quality of life and I am able to remain positive only with the help of CCALS. I want to help others benefit as well.
All funds raised from David’s Old Silver Swim are donated to CCALS, to support the work they do. In 2019, the Swim raised over $150,000 and we keep setting our sights higher. While the pandemic has altered our in-person 2020 event, our goal is to continue the process of raising funds to combat ALS and we can’t do it without you. Everyone who makes a donation helps us inch closer to our goal of helping CCALS in their mission to make the lives of those living with ALS easier. They’ve helped me, and now we have the opportunity to help them.
Please dig deeper this year, building on your generosity of years past. Checks can be made payable to David’s Old Silver Swim and sent to: David’s Old Silver Swim, 52 Horseshoe Lane, North Falmouth, MA 02556. Online donations can be made at davidsoldsilverswim.com. For those who have already given this year, we thank you. David’s Swim is a 501(c)3 organization and donations are tax exempt.
In closing, I continue to live a full life; I am happy and content. I’m eager to give back and am asking for your help. Thank you for your support, and keep swinging for the fences!