One Father's Extraordinary Journal of Living Longer with ALS
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If Dad had never been diagnosed with ALS, he still would have been a good father. He would have taught me and Julie the difference between right and wrong. He would have supported our passions, taught us how to earn and show respect, and he would have loved us to the end of time. But ALS did inhabit our lives…

Over the past 11 years, many people have told me that I was blessed. Part of me always understood this notion… but most of me wanted to flick the person in the nose…


The reality is that this journey, as tragic and exhausting as it may have been, has revealed to us a dimension of love, and an understanding of life, we never knew existed. Through it, we discovered the impact and value of a loyal and supportive community. We were able to bear witness to the might of will and intent. We can attest to the true power of choice. And we learned how to love with every part of our being.

 So ALS entered our lives and took someone we loved…. but not without a struggle and transformation of epic proportions. And it was by virtue of that struggle that everyone reading this can say, “I am a better person because of Joe Wions.” And it is by virtue of that struggle that I can say, “I did not simply have a good father….I had an extraordinary father whose will to live, and whose adaptability in the face of adversity inspired me, and everyone around him.”
And for that loyal and supportive community…
An excerpt from his Health Update #9:
Yesterday, I had the unfortunate need to attend a memorial service. It was for a man named Harvey Tesser. Harvey was the man most responsible for the founding and nurturing into existence of the synagogue in which I have proudly held membership for the past 19 years. He was a forceful and determined man, who occasionally rubbed people the wrong way. He was also both a visionary and a doer, who had the persistence to drive his visions to reality. You just had to respect the man, and I did – deeply. We had worked closely together as board members years ago, and I thought that I knew him reasonably well. As I listened to his children, grandchildren, wife, business associates, and friends lovingly eulogize him in front of the standing room only crowd that had turned out to honor him, it occurred to me that there was much more to this man than I had been privileged to know. I felt awed and a little cheated that there were so many wonderful things about Harvey to which I had not been exposed. I couldn’t help but wonder and hope that he knew in life how these people felt about him.
As Diane and I drove home, it was impossible not to reflect on how this scene might play out for me when the time comes. Diane was quick to point out that regardless of what happens when I’m gone, the people who care about me display it continuously. They (you) do it through the endless stream of support I receive in the form of phone calls, e-mails, meals, home maintenance help, office help, driving me to doctor appointments, running errands, monetary contributions, and more. Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t still expect you to show up in droves, and say wonderful things about me (even if you have to make stuff up!) when that day comes. But, I want to thank you again for letting me know how you feel, and for helping to keep my quality of life rich and rewarding.
Best Regards,
Thank you for coming out in droves. We are truly blessed to have had a father and husband like Joe in a community like you.
Dan, Diane, and Julie
Donations may be made in Joe’s honor to the following :
1. Joe Wions Memorial Scholarship Fund:  (please make checks out to “JPS COPA”)
855 Grove Ave
Edison, N.J. 08820
In the Memo- please write: Joe Wions memorial scholarship fund
2. The Philadelphia or New York Chapters of the ALS Association

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