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Bangor Couple Honored by ALS Association 

Joy Hollowell

Imagine losing your ability to talk.To walk.And eventually all other muscular functions, all the while knowing exactly what is happening to you.That’s what its like to live with Lou Gehrig’s disease.Joy Hollowell introduces us to a Bangor couple that’s learning each day holds new challenges, as well as new possibilities.3-year old Jack loves to play catch. The toddler also understands that while his dad would love to throw the ball to Jack, he can’t. Jim Kingsbury is battling Lou Gehrig’s disease.”Around the time that Jack was about to be born, I had noticed that my right hand was stiff. And I thought at first it was carpal tunnel,” says Jim Kingsbury.At the time, Jim was working as a chef. He began physical therapy, but the pain wouldn’t go away.”Unfortunately, there’s not a test for ALS,” says Lisa Kingsbury.Which meant Jim had to undergo a series of tests, some of them extremely painful, to eliminate anything else. Finally, a year and a half later, the 47-year old was officially diagnosed with the disease.”He started out in 2006, it was just his right arm. Just, I say that now, I didn’t say that then. Now, he can’t use his right arm at all, his left arm is very difficult for him, his speech is getting increasingly worse, his legs, he’s starting to walk spastically,” says Lisa Kingsbury.Last march, Jim had to stop working. He’s now training to use a voice box, knowing there will come a time when that will be his only means of communication.As for the obvious question of”why us?””I don’t think we ever asked that because I think the question is really, why not us? It can happen to anybody,” says Lisa Kingsbury.The Kingsburys say they’re now looking at life in moments, savoring each one for all its worth.”I can’t worry about tomorrow,” says Jim Kingsbury.”We gotta get through today,” says Lisa Kingsbury.”And I’m going to wake up the next day and say, ‘alright, here we go again,'” says Jim Kingsbury.============Last year, Lisa Kingsbury started a support group in her area.And, on August 29th, she’ll host the second annual “Walk to defeat ALS” in Bangor.May is ALS Awareness month.The Northern New England chapter of the ALS Association is honoring the Kingsbury for their work in raising money as well as awareness about the disease.The chapter says the Kingsburys best exemplify the spirit of ALS Across America.For more information, you can contact the Northern New England chapter of the ALS association at www.alsanne.org