Brantford man shares journey with ALS through YouTube videos
A major health scare is not something many of us would want to make public, but one 48-year-old Brantford man is sharing his journey online through YouTube videos.
Dave Dodds describes his videos as both both therapeutic and humourous.
Dodds said noticed something wrong back in September.
"It's impacted my upper arm movements so reaching for things is difficult but the rest of my muscles in my arms still work normally," Dodds told CTV News.
At first, his doctors thought he had torn rotator cuffs but then in March, Dodds’ life changed forever. He was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
"There was a series of tests because there is no test that says you've got ALS,” he said. “So they knocked all that off and from there, you're left standing with ALS."
His doctors said he may have a regional variant of ALS known as brachial amyotrophic diplegia – right now it is effecting his arms and shoulders but that could change.
"It'll sit there for it could be ten years, if it decides not to, it can attack me more quickly," he said.
As a way to spread awareness about his illness, Dodds decided to take to social media, posting monthly health updates on YouTube.
"From my perspective I wanted to be able to provide some awareness and let people know my story and how it's going," he said.
His family was shocked by his diagnosis but says his attitude has been nothing but positive.
"We kind of just looked past it and looked where it's gonna go and what we can do about it, obviously nothing but you know we spend every day together that's all I can ask for," said Dodds’ teenage son Will.
Years ago, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge made national headlines, raising millions for research. The ALS Society of Canada said about 3,000 people are living with ALS in the country and while the trend resulted in new developments in treatment, they are still underfunded.
"Even the fundraising that came in, which was unprecedented for us, was a fraction of a fraction of what most treatable diseases have to fund research for example in a given year,” said David Taylor, vice-president of research at ALS Society Of Canada. “You know, this was a kind of moment in time and we'll see if it can resonate again."
June is ALS awareness month and Dodds and his family will be taking part in the ALS walk in Hamilton on June 10 to raise money for the illness.
"It's unbelievable how the financial aspects have been from people coming and supporting us,” Dodds said. “The community support – that to me is the most important thing."