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Dave Larson fights ALS with the help of his family

10:08 PM, Aug 18, 2013   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

SUNSET HILLS, Mo. (KSDK) - It's dinner hour for the Larson family in south St. Louis County. Though there are hot dogs on the grill, what Dave Larson really has an appetite for is time.

"I'm just so afraid that he is scared," says his wife Ann.

The 48-year-old is a successful publishing executive.

"He's an incredibly hard worker. His work ethic is off the chart," she explains.

And so is his play ethic. His family says the former NCAA division one soccer player never met a challenge he didn't like. Until now.

"You know it's heart breaking," she says.

Last fall, he started to feel some weakness in his left arm. Then, he started slurring his words.

"It would be Wednesday evening at 7:00 at night and I'd be like have you been drinking?"Ann recalls. "And he was like I'm just tired. Everything was I'm just tired."

Dave Larson admits that he kept it to himself for a while.

After finally seeing a doctor and going through a battery of tests, the Larson family received devastating news. Dave was diagnosed with ALS.

"It, it was incredibly difficult,"says Ann. "I couldn't believe it. I said to the doctor, it can't be."

Dave says the two things that went through his mind were "shock and fear."

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a rapidly progressive, neuromuscular disease and there is no cure.

"It comes into your life and consumes it and changes every plan that you ever had," said Ann.

For this family though when the tears stopped, a whole new attitude began.

"Try to live the most out of life,"says the Larson's 16-year-old son Arthur. "Go places, do things that we wouldn't normally do just to try new things, make good memories."

The soundtrack of those memories is Dave's voice which is starting to fail.  Knowing that he would soon need a computer just to communicate, Dave's wife Ann insisted that he start recording important phrases. In other words, banking his voice.

"We want to hear him," says Ann. "We want to hear his words. We want to hear his voice. We want to hear funny things that he says."

Around here, they call them Dave-isms and now they'll be available at the push of a button.

Phrases like, "Boys, time to get off the X-box!"

When time becomes the most important thing, attitude is everything.

"Every day is a gift from this point on,"says Dave.

In the wake of this terrible disease that weakens the muscles, the Larson family is finding great strength.

Dave Larson will not be fighting alone.

"We pray every day for a miracle," says Ann.

 

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