Millrat: A Memoir about ALS, Adversity and the American Dream.

Since dad’s passing in 2003, I’ve wanted to write about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the impact it had on my family with the goal of bringing awareness to this obscure terminal disease. When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge happened in 2014, I was flooded with emotion as many painful memories that were buried for over a decade resurfaced. Two things became clear: 

1) My subconscious never left the anger stage of grief. 

2) Today, ALS has many public champions dedicating time, treasure and talent to retire this disease for good. With that, I found helpful ways to heal personally and no longer feel the need to write about what the world already knows.

Today, I feel that there is a different story that needs to be told. Instead of focusing on how my dad died, it’s far more important to share with others how he lived. During that time, dad went out of his way to provide ‘teaching moments’ about life, a framework of self-governance and how we ought to conduct ourselves in society. Dad didn’t let distractions take him away from his passions and he never worried about things outside of his control.

Today, I find the challenges of working-class and poor folks harder than ever before. While dad told me explicitly to ‘keep my head down’, work hard and be honest, it’s more complicated than that now. The world is a far different place than my childhood in the 90’s – before high-speed internet, smartphones, and social medi

In the U.S., cultural individualism, political polarization, economic inequality are on the rise while faith participation, family building and community engagement is on the decline. When it comes to creating a more perfect union regarding important issues of our time, it starts with focusing on ourselves first and foremost, supporting those closest to us and then branching out to others in need, and it can only be done with real face to face conversations. 

This book is a reflection of the seeds dad planted but oftentimes I refused to water. With each passing year, I look back our time together and the things he taught me, through his words and actions on how to be a better man, family member, friend and community leader. While some are pushing for more government involvement in our lives, especially from the far away land of DC, I can attest that faith, family, and community serve as the centerfold of social stability and upward economic mobility. By combining my life experiences with dad’s timeless wisdom, I hope to help others differentiate between the signal and the noise, develop personal agency and return to the things that really matter in life.

While this is an ongoing project, competing for my time with other priorities, I look to publish and release it sometime in the Fall of 2025. In the meantime, this website serves as an idea board to sketch out stories and individual elements to form a more refined first draft for publishers. As a math guy and non-writer, I am certainly looking for an editor!

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