We know that participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS is no small feat and we’re in constant awe of how teams come together to help create a world without ALS. From walking to honor a loved one, to hope for a cure, each walker has their “why” that keeps them motivated and dedicated to the cause.
We asked Juan Reyes, a person with ALS and past Walk participant, to share his story and why he walks. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Juan Reyes, and my wife Meg and I are from Del Rio, Tx, where we met in high school. A year after marrying we were moved to Greece by the Air Force. During my 21 years of service we had assignments in Texas, Greece, United Kingdom, Maryland and numerous temporary duties. Meg and I settled in San Antonio after my retirement from Service with our four children.
What is your connection to ALS?
I am inextricably connected to ALS due to being diagnosed with the condition on Oct 14 2015. This day forever altered our family’s life. Since that day, our family has been living with ALS and its impact on us all. One of the most difficult things Meg and I have done is tell our children and family of my diagnosis.
What inspired you to join the Walk to Defeat ALS?
After being diagnosed, the first Walk I could participate in was the same month. Truth be told, I skipped it. The reason was selfish, I was afraid. Afraid of seeing myself in other patients. Afraid of what is waiting for me as my ALS progreses, I simply wasn’t ready. It wasn’t until after my first support group that I realized how wrong I was. At that meeting I met pALS and cALS that inspired me to realize the fight to create a world without ALS needs every possible voice. Why not mine?
Have you joined the Walk to Defeat ALS in the past? What was your experience like?
So far this will make my 4th Walk to participate in. I get excited when Walk season starts, my brain goes into overdrive thinking of ways to grow our team and to have fun doing so. Meg gets after me for being too competitive during team week. Every Walk inspires me to do more, its like a class reunion of sorts. Unfortunately there are friends who have passed – this is the reality of this cruel disease. Yet, we can’t let this keep us from trying.
What would you tell others who are interested in joining the Walk?
I would tell anyone interested in the Walk “what are you waiting for?”. It’s an incredibly worthy cause. You can make a huge impact on a person or family living with ALS. It’s a beautiful event and you will meet amazing people with indomitable spirits.