As a loving father of four wonderful children (Arianne-17, Hunter-15, Parker-11, Whitney-8) and a husband to a smart, talented, and beautiful wife (Jennifer), my ALS diagnosis in August 2018 came as a complete shock to us all!
Even though I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, I really had no idea what ALS was and didn’t understand what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is – and certainly had no idea of the devastation that it leaves in its wake.
I was fortunate enough to connect with Augie’s Quest shortly after my diagnosis, and was welcomed into the family by Augie, Lynne, Shannon, and the rest of the team immediately. I was honored and humbled when Augie invited me to join his Leadership Advisory Council at Augie’s Quest.
This time last year, I was waiting for a June appointment for an EMG after having my first neurologist consultation to figure out why my muscles were twitching for more than a year. At that time, I was not aware that it was just ALS Awareness Month, even though my research indicated that my issues and symptoms could possibly be ALS.
I am encouraged by the many campaigns and fundraising programs held this time of year by corporations such as Orangetheory Fitness (big shout-out for raising the bar each year – bringing in $4.5 million this year alone!), Crunch Fitness, and Dutch Bros to name a few. These programs help raise awareness to a broader community, not to mention bringing in a tremendous amount of money for research to help us end ALS.
In the words of our friend Augie Nieto, “ALS is not an incurable disease, it is an underfunded one.“ Without increased awareness, we would be challenged to raise the urgently needed funds to spur this important research for effective cures and treatments forward.
As a person living with ALS, I treat every day as an opportunity to increase ALS awareness. Every day is ALS Awareness Day. Every month is ALS Awareness Month.
While attending the University of Washington in Seattle, I was fortunate enough to be a member of two Rose Bowl football teams, one of which won the 1991 National Championship. Shortly after graduating in 1993, I left Seattle for Colorado, then Massachusetts, Arizona, and California. In 2005, I moved back to Seattle and developed some deeper roots in the Pacific Northwest, up until we moved back to Southern California almost two years ago.
Since my diagnosis, I have been actively involved in various activities and organizations (Augie’s Quest, I AM ALS, Team Gleason, ALS TDI) to raise awareness and make a difference in the fight to end ALS. I have appeared on several podcasts to talk about ALS, including the GoHuskies Podcast for the University of Washington, where I was a member of. My story was also featured in the GoHuskies Magazine which is distributed to UW Athletics season ticket holders. I am also producing and hosting my own podcast called the I AM ALS Podcast, on which I interview top researchers, showcase some incredible in the ALS community, highlight leading ALS organizations, and discuss other important and topics for the ALS community.
Given my link to the Seattle area, I immediately wanted to participate in Augie’s Quest’s Cure ALS Golf Classic in Seattle September 9th, and get my network of friends involved to make a difference. This year’s tournament will feature one of my friends and ROOT SPORTS personality, Angie Mentink. Hopefully, my participation can help the Augie’s Quest team make this tournament an even bigger success than it was last year.
There are always opportunities to educate more people about ALS, and really make a difference in this fight… far beyond the official ALS Awareness Month of May.
~ Phil Green