The video I want to share with you is just the beginning of a story I will begin to share with you in the coming weeks. You have seen many ALS videos I am sure over the last ten days. This is the most memorable to me.
Too many of these videos have been all about the celebrity or the challenge itself. Few have connected to what it is really all about. A horrible disease that ravages the body and kills usually fairly quickly. One of my favorite minds, Stephen Hawking, has ALS. He is the very rare exception on life expectancy.
The video was done by people who know exactly what it is and have begun to all they can to, if not cure it, give those who suffer through it a bit more time and a higher quality of a dignified life.
It is the Carrick Brain Center.
Last week I spent five days with these amazing people. What they are doing for those vets with TBI, PTSD and all others who have, almost all, given up hope of finding any answers let alone a "cure" is remarkable. I have witnessed others who had, through injury, lost the ability to speak or walk get up and walk or tell their spouse for the first time verbally, "I Love You." Many, go on to live lives they never hoped possible.
When people arrive in their offices, they have already been treated by, on average, 15 different specialists. I know. I am one of them.
They have changed and my wife and I believe, they saved my life over the last year. I have not shared some of the struggles my family and I have been going through over the past five years because I don't like tell stories when I don't know how they end. But, I know now and thanks to the doctors at Carrick it has many more chapters yet to be written and a happy ending.
The CBC has recently begun working with ALS patients and even those with Alzheimers. The early results are promising. With luck and support they will complete their work and change the world by changing the way we treat people with many kinds of brain dysfunction.
I was there when they filmed this ice bucket challenge on Friday morning. Early that morning, my doctors came in with wet hair and tears in their eyes. I hope to share the story of the woman in this video with ALS with you and so many others soon.
Let me begin with a quick story that happened to me Monday morning as I was in their "civilian relaxation room" (where non vets can go to rest after, what is in some cases, very intense treatment). There, I met a man named "Kevin." He is a police officer. He suffered a severe brain injury in 1997 when he was hit head on by a semi truck, he has not been in the field since. He now works in the evidence room. We sat and just talked for a few minutes. Then, something amazing happened. Before either of us knew it, the two of us along with others including nurses were on our knees praying and thanking God for all of His mighty wonders. I have seen doctors and their offices all over the country and the world. Nowhere have I seen a place so willing and able to allow people of faith to include God in the healing process.
The other important point in this story is what Kevin told me on Friday. In his first four days, Kevin made more progress than he had made in the almost twenty years since his trauma.
Pray for these heroes of medical science. This is all cutting edge and because of that, no insurance carrier will cover the costs ... Yet. Tania and I help personally when and where we can, Mercury One has seen the results in former patients like Marcus Lutrell and others and has assisted financially and has made an ongoing commitment to help our hero vets that have been brushed aside and lost in the nightmare that is the VA.
I am so thrilled to report that the word about them is spreading like wild fire and thus there are many charitable pioneers that are getting on board to help raise awareness and much needed funds.
Unfortunately, because their results are many times nothing shy of miraculous, people who have given up are calling and traveling from all over the country to see if they can help. Some times they cannot, many times they can, but what I find so heartening is, at all times they care. I have seen their staff weep with sorrow for those they had to send away long after the would-be patient left and Thank God, I have seen them weep with joy on multiple occasions because of the miracles of hope and healing that have been found.
These people make a difference in people's lives. Those who have given up hope find it again when they cross the threshold of The Carrick Brain Centers.