ATHENS, Alabama – Across the Tennessee Valley on Saturday, families and organizations raised awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling muscle movement.
Limestone County resident Thad Hebbe was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but before finding out he had it, he told News 19 he hadn’t even heard of the sickness.
âWhen I was in the Clements High School Marching Band, our Marching Band Director passed away in 1985, but I still didn’t know what it was,â Hebbe said.
âSince being diagnosed it’s amazing the people I have found that have been diagnosed and I share all the time I can with them just by talking,â he continued.
There is currently no cure for ALS, and many doctors are not only trying to understand the disease, but also find a way to stop its progression in their patients.
Hebbe is currently undergoing treatment in an attempt to slow the progression of the disease, and is still working as best he can with his company, Thad Hebbe Heating and Air Conditioning.
âThe doctor told me not to just go home and sit down, not to overdo it, but to keep busy, so I do what I can,â Hebbe said.
Hebbe is a staple in the Limestone County community with people from across the region coming together to support him.
âAll the money we raise goes directly to the ALS Foundation of Northern Alabama and it’s just a big fundraising event,â Hebbe said. âI’ve seen people here that I haven’t seen in years. It’s just like I said, mind boggling with the response we got.
The Hebbes are grateful for the support of all communities and they know that without them they would not have come this far and Thad says that for those struggling with ALS it all depends on your outlook on life.
Hebbe said he was tested for the five diseases that mimic the symptoms of ALS and was told he had three to five years to live.
“I said forget we’re going to shoot 10-20,” Hebbe told News 19.
As Hebbe said with a big smile on his face, many in the community have echoed that he won’t let three to five years stop him, he’s doing everything he can to not only help, but also the ALS community.
While the family couldn’t be more grateful, there is one who keeps his family strong.
âJust a lot of support from your family helps a lot. We have had family reunions and all the kids have come and they are very united and it helps, âsaid his wife Susan,â Faith and prayers, a higher power will always get you through this. “
As the Hebbes soaked in so much time, Thad said, âWe have our seventh big baby on the way and we are spending as much time as we can with them. They give it my name.
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