Michael Jack, a local blogger and architectural buff, was honored recently by the D.C./Maryland/Virginia Chapter of the ALS Association, a nonprofit organization that works to fight the disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrigs disease, through global research and assistance efforts.
The local branch called Jack and his primary caregiver and partner caretaker Dan Iglhaut the family that best exemplifies the spirit of ALS Across America, the ALS Associations national campaign to recognize courageous individuals with the disease as outstanding role models for their peers.
As a volunteer buddy and team leader with the Whitman Walker Clinic, an AIDS service organization, Michael continued to work with his client well after his ALS diagnosis and was honored as volunteer of the year, Iglhaut said.
Diagnosed in 1997, the disease has left Jack reliant on a motorized wheelchair for mobility and limited his ability to speak, but he has also already lived well beyond the average two- to five-year life expectancy that comes with the neurodegenerative muscular disease.
He has befriended and supported other patients living with ALS around the world and never compares himself to others or complains, said Laurie Kreitzer, the local chapters service coordinator. At this point he has far outweighed the odds, a gift that makes all of us thankful.