By Karen Leigh
DENVER (CBS4) – Rod Hartley’s world revolves around his family and Rugby.
For five years, he coached the young men on Colorado State University’s Rugby team.
“Those relationships I have with that team is pretty strong — pretty amazing — pretty humbling,” said Hartley.
Then a diagnosis of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hartley was suddenly sidelined. This leader and coach was knocked off his feet and in need of help.
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“The ALS association has been fantastic,” said Hartley.
He says he’s used the resources provided by the ALS Association from day one.
One of the things they have to offer is a loan closet packed to the ceiling with everything a patient with ALS might need.
From beds, to walkers, to special utensils that help someone who is losing their ability to grip.
It’s all free — on loan — to anyone with ALS that needs it.
“We are blessed that we are the recipient of that help for sure,” Hartley said.
There is no treatment or cure for Hartley or anyone with ALS. He knows the progression cannot be stopped.
Instead of worrying about what’s ahead, Hartley focuses on what’s right in front of him — his family.
“My wife is just a phenomenal person and fills me with light everyday. My kids, hearing their stories, hearing their laughs. When you are in this situation you start to really appreciate a lot of things that most people don’t pay much attention to,” said Hartley.
He’s grateful. Without input and help from the ALS Association he wouldn’t have the chair he’s in or the minivan he and his wife use to get around.
“The amazing thing about this disease and this community is the humbling part of it — is that there are so many people out there that want to help,” said Hartley.
This is one road Hartley will not be traveling alone.