Local 23-year-old adjusts to life with ALS
We are nearing the end of ALS Awareness Month. The group of rare neurological diseases known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis weaken muscles and impact physical function.
A local mother and her son are trying to spread awareness after they got shocking news six months ago.
Twenty-three-year-old Nathan Freeland adjusts to life in a wheel chair. He can still walk, but in a few years that won’t be the case. He and his mom, Candice, got his ALS diagnosis in November.
"We actually got a diagnosis of ‘We’re looking at a motor neuron disease,’ the day before Thanksgiving, and that was dark. It was dark," Candice said.
Off and on, Freeland uses this wheel chair, because his muscles are weakening. Before doctors diagnosed him, he would inexplicably trip. He always felt exhausted. Doctors believe his disease is a sub-type of ALS called progressive muscular atrophy, or PMA.
"You, you cry, like now, and you get yourself together and you go on," Candice said.
Nathan keeps a positive attitude. He and his mother work together to raise awareness
"You get to cherish more what you want from life, and how to help others, you know —how to help others even though there may or may not be lots of time for me," Nathan said.
Now they take life day to day, cherishing every moment. The average life expectancy for PMA is five to 10 years after the diagnosis. Nathan loves math and science, and hopes to be the next Stephen Hawking, who has ALS and is 75.