In September of 2010, Thomas was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). ALS is a neuromuscular disease which causes death of the muscles and is ultimately fatal. The life expectancy of those with ALS is 2-5 years, but can be shorter or longer. There is no known medical cure. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
Thomas grew up in California, Washington, and Idaho. He studied finance at BYU, where he met and married his sweetheart, Jena Green. Together, they enjoyed reading books, riding bikes, camping, and visiting family. Soon, they moved to the St. George area, where they have lived for the past six years.
In June of 2010, after a very long wait, Ben and Jena were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Emmerson. Life was suddenly full of diapers, sleepless nights, and joy. Soon Ben began experiencing muscle weakness. He realized that he could no longer make a fist. After exhausting tests and research, they received the devastating final diagnosis: Ben had ALS.
Weeks and months passed, and it became clear that Ben’s ALS was a severe form. As Ben’s strength rapidly declined, and their two-story home quickly became inaccessible to him, Ben and Jena made the difficult decision to sell their dream home and move in with Jena’s parents. There, they continue to make modifications to that home to make it more accessible for Ben.
Most people diagnosed with ALS quit work, but Ben still works as a real estate appraiser using special tools for typing. His coworkers are amazed and inspired by his courage and inner strength.
To support Ben, his wife Jena, and their family during this difficult time, family and friend have put together the "Run For Ben" event to honor them, show support, and assist them with medical bills.
Saturday, March 24th, 2012, 9AM
Treasure Valley Park
4050 South Crown Jewel Way,
Washington City, Utah 84780
To learn more about Ben click Run For Ben
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
Facts about ALS
• ALS is not contagious.
• It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.
• Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
• Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
• About twenty percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.
• ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
• ALS can strike anyone.
• The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
• There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease.