Many U.S. military veterans like retired Air Force Technical Sergeant David Masters of Omaha, Neb. have bravely fought for their country only to return home to wage another battle against Lou Gehrig’s Disease. No one knows why, but veterans are twice as likely to develop this fatal disease clinically known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There is no known cure for ALS and just one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that only modestly extends survival.
Lou Gehrig’s Disease cut David’s military career short when he was just 32 years old. Following a deployment in Saudi Arabia, David first began experiencing unusual muscle weakness in his right arm during a deployment in Kuwait.
“This was devastating for someone who was an amateur body builder, handpicked physical training leader, and overall health and fitness enthusiast,” he recalls.
David has three young children and relies more and more on his wife for his daily care. He struggles to cope with his loss of freedom and knowing that one day he will no longer be able to hug his children or to speak the words, “I love you” to his family.
Like so many other veterans living with ALS, David is holding onto hope for a cure and to one day know why he and his fellow service members of all generations must bear this health burden.