At fifteen-years-old, David Sedate is no stranger to ALS. When he was just 8, his Grandpa Rich was diagnosed with the disease and passed two years later. Today, David has committed to honoring his grandfather’s legacy by supporting the fight to end ALS.
One of David’s favorite memories of his Grandpa Rich was when they’d vacation to Montana together. It’s where Rich had grown up. Their 2012 trip would forever change their lives. It was then that the family first started noticing respiratory symptoms in their Grandpa. He’d soon after being diagnosed with ALS after visiting the ALS Clinic at UT Health San Antonio.
Following the diagnosis, the Sedate family relocated to a larger home to make room for their grandparents to move in. Rich’s ALS progressed quickly. Just soon after the family found out he had the disease, he couldn’t walk well anymore. He relied on a wheelchair to get around the house and spent a lot of time in bed. “It was always hard to see him like that,” David shared. But despite the adjustments he felt grateful that his grandpa was so close. “I got to spend a lot of time with him and see him a lot.”
Finding Support through ALS Texas
During that time, the family found support through the ALS Association of Texas. David’s mother recalls the challenges she faced making sure her father had the supplies he needed. “I found out and what I know a lot of ALS caregivers face is my dad was prescribed equipment that he needed, but the insurance doesn’t exactly really quickly approve all of those kinds of things, and so you get caught in the middle.”
She shared how ALS Texas was there to help fill the gaps when needed. At one point, Rich was in major need of a BIPAP machine. Unfortunately, insurance didn’t work fast enough to approve it. Through the equipment loan program at ALS Texas, the family was loaned a BIPAP machine free of cost. They even utilized a volunteer respiratory therapist who came to their house to show them how to use the machine.
I saw his lungs be able to fill up with air and it was the first deep breath he’d taken in a long time—and I just started crying. – Kristin Sedate
Through the Equipment Loan Program, they also received ramps to make the home accessible for Grandpa Rich’s wheelchair. The family also found community through local support groups.
Remembering Beautiful Moments
Just two years after being diagnosed with ALS, Grandpa Rich passed from the disease. Though he’s no longer with David physically, his memories of his grandfather carry him forward. David reminisced on the sweet memories he’d made with his Grandpa Rich during his childhood—from camping trips, to hikes, to exploring the State of Texas.
Even while living with ALS, David’s grandfather kept making memories. He taught David how to play the board game, Cribbage, and played it together every chance they got. One of his favorite memories with his grandfather after the diagnosis was the time he came to Grandparent’s Day at his school.
“So even it meant a lot to me, cause even though you know he was struggling with all the stuff he decided to come out and spend the day with me, it really meant a lot,” David shared.
Mowing Down ALS
David cherishes the memory of his Grandpa Rich as he navigates life. Today, he’s a Sophomore at Ronald Reagan High School and plays the trumpet in the school’s marching band. His band just recently won ninth place at the National Marching Band competition. When he’s not at school or band practice, David spends time with his new dog Pepper. He’s also found joy in a practical hobby—mowing lawns.
David’s older brother used to mow lawns for family and friends. When David turned 14, he started mowing lawns himself to make extra money. Instead of keeping the earnings to himself, David decided to contribute a portion of each lawn a good cause. He chose ALS Texas to receive those funds to support people like his Grandpa Rich living with the disease.
David’s mom, Kristin, is very proud of him and the work he’s doing in memory of her father through David’s Mow Down ALS. He encourages other youth to not be discouraged in getting involved in fundraising. Even the small amounts add up and bring us closer to a world without this terrible disease. Together, we can find a cure!