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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ice Buckets and ALS

The internet has powerful social media.   Kudos to the marketing prop known at the "Ice Bucket Challenge".  It has earned millions in support of finding a cure to ALS.  What more could you ask for?  I think the donations are appropriate.  The buckets have been very entertaining but lots of people have been called out.  Is this getting old?  Some are not into the physicality of getting wet, let alone with ice water.  Others have indicated that during a severe drought in California, we should not be wasting water.  What do I think?  I think we need to find a cure for ALS.  It hit so close to home in my family, even before I was born........

I can still see my grandpa sitting in his easy chair in his small mid-century bungalow in Napa, California.  He was reminiscing about his own father, Jack Flanagan.  John Francis "Jack" Flanagan was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).  He passed away from it at his home (The Flanagan Ranch, Carneros District, Napa, California) on 20 May 1936.

My grandpa said that word was sent him while he was on the road playing baseball.  He played minor league in California at the time.  He returned home as quickly as possible.  The family said that Jack held on until he got there so that he could say goodbye to my grandpa.  Jack passed shortly after he said his goodbyes.

At the age of 58, Jack Flanagan (known in his family as Frank or Francis as a kid) passed away of this terribly, debilitating disease.  It attacks the body while the mind and memories stay sound.  It is unforgiving as it progresses.

Jack went from being a strong man to weak.  He was a farmer, auto mechanic, inventor (patented a plow implement), and loved to fish and hunt.  He was a total outdoors man but also held a certificate in mechanical engineering.  In fact, he was the service manager at a car dealership when cars were just starting to catch on at the turn of the century.  He even taught people how to drive.

So, in his memory and with all of the "bucket" challenges.  To Jack Flanagan....my great grandfather.