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From Great to Awesome

By now, most people in the ALS community know the phrase “Awesome Ain’t Easy,” which was made popular by the great Steve Gleason. What separates good from great from awesome? Perhaps it is different to each and everyone of us. But, for me, I have had many examples of when things went from being great to awesome. This past weekend was the perfect example.
 I have said it many times, but I am very blessed. I have a wonderful family, great friends and a support system in place to help ease the burden of what ALS brings to a patient and the family. I have also had the opportunity to speak to organizations and be a part of the Wisconsin Chapter in ways that have been very rewarding personally. As hard as traveling has become, I had an opportunity to go to New Orleans last weekend to see Steve Gleason, and to witness an interview between him and Green Bay Packer Morgan Burnett. I was also told that I would be able to attend the Sunday night football game and be on the field before it started. The cost of the flight and tickets to the game were expensive and, although I knew we probably couldn’t afford it, I could not pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What a great adventure I had in store for that weekend.
 What happened next made it become an awesome adventure. As parents, I believe we are in the business of making memories for our children. Sometimes, things just happen that make a memory become great. Other times, it takes a lot of planning – like a trip to Disney World or some other fun family vacation. So, what happened in New Orleans to make this an awesome adventure? My two oldest sons, Dan and Jake, showed up unannounced to surprise me and be a part of the weekend. Jake and Dan finally got to meet Steve Gleason, and Jake finally got to personally thank Steve for sending us to Italy 2 1/2 years ago. Of course, the other highlight was going into the Superdome and onto the field two hours before gametime to watch the Saints and the Packers go through their warm-ups. What an unbelievable experience. To share it with two of my children made it go from being a great adventure to an awesome adventure.
So, like I said, I am very blessed. I’m seven years into this fight with ALS and, somehow, I am still experiencing awesome moments and sharing them with my family.
Many people made last weekend happen and for that I’m very grateful. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that every day I wake up, I have a chance to make that day count. And sometimes a good day becomes a great day, and a great day becomes an awesome day. And I always remember, as Steve says, “Awesome Ain’t Easy.”

4 responses to “From Great to Awesome

  1. ⋅

    Jim … so glad this adventure was awesome for oh so many reasons. You remind us all to live each day to the fullest at the best of our ability! Hoping every day is awesome for you and the family. Hugs … Gary and Alice

  2. Tom Aldridge ⋅

    Wow Jim, what a fabulous story. So glad you had this experience, and with your two oldest sons no less. Now that is a memory, and it is awesome.

  3. Jim, YOU are awesome!! You, Dan, and Jake look great on the field there. I love you, my brother. Your blog means much to me. You are a fine man, dear one. Love and prayers. JoJo.

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