Thread: ALS Firefighter

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Unhappy ALS Firefighter

    Thirty-three-year old Firefighter/Paramedic, Jeff Dunn was diagnosed with ALS - also known as Lou Gehrig's disease - December 2003. In that time, he's gone from being an avid biker, skier and firefighter - to losing most of his speech ability and muscle function. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a terminal, neuromuscular disease that wastes away the muscles. Most patients die within two to five years of diagnosis.
    Dunn's co-workers immediately got involved when they realized the seriousness of his condition. They helped his family finish construction of their basement. For nearly a year, they've worked all of Dunn's shifts, so he could keep his paycheck and insurance. At the start of March, however, the state forced Dunn to apply for disability.
    The 33 year old left for an experimental surgery in China to reverse the fatal effects of Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS. Now, back at his home in Castle Rock, Dunn says the surgery has had disappointing results."He said he doesn't know that he really noticed a whole lot of improvements," says his wife. The disease has weakened Dunn's vocal chords and now his wife translates his slurred speech. "I think his speech got better, but his legs got a lot worse."The neuromuscular disorder will eventually waste away all of his muscles and stop his breathing.

    In Beijing, Dunn had two holes drilled into his head, so Dr. Hongyun Huang could inject olfactory ensheathing cells directly into his nervous system. Olfactory ensheathing cells have been known to work much like stem cells in that they regenerate damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord. Hundreds of Americans and Europeans have flocked to Dr. Huang's hospital in China for the experimental surgery - because many of them have terminal diseases and have nothing to lose.

    Although the surgery wasn't successful for Jeff, the Dunns say they don't regret it.

    "Yeah, we'd do it again," Cyrilla Dunn says. "From day one, we have to keep trying everything. I don't ever want to say, what if?"

    Dunn has a 21-month-old son and a 12-year-old daughter to live for. He's fighting to put out the one last fire in his life.

    Jeff is now full time in a powered wheel chair and the illness is slowly progressing. This past week doctors have tested Jeffs breathing and rating it at 60%, at this rate Docters are saying 9 to 12 months before Jeff would have to be put on a ventalator. Jeff has already mentioned that Life support would be against his wishes.

    I am giving all of you this story to ask for your prayers and wishes.

    Salina, Kansas Local 782 would all like to Thank Castle Rock Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 4116 for all of their help for taking care of our Brother.

    Jeff, Never Give Up!

    For more info you can find it at.

  2. #2
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    DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Jun 2000


    I watched my neighbor die of ALS and helped her husband care for her - hardest thing for me to do thus far in my life was to tell him that she had died. From November to February they had no idea what it was. Diagnosed in February, dead by mid-April.

    Absolutely devastating disease. All loss of motor control, slowly, then the muscle wasting begins and you lose all strength. You slowly lose control of your ability to swallow and many, like my neighbor, die by basically drowning in their own saliva.

    All the while your mind is not affected by the disease at all. They are fully conscious of this happening and the pain it causes to their families.

    Predominantly strikes men, especially in their 40s - 50s.

    Sorry if it seems depressing, but it basically is a death sentence.

    I watched a quick blurb on ESPN the other day on a former LA Raider who was diagnosed with ALS.

    Thoughts and prayers to all.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    Jeff - stay positive, and for the rest of the Dunn family our thoughts are with you!
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
    -People will forget what you did,
    -But people will never forget how you made them feel!

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