NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
It robs people of the ability to function. Some patients lose their ability to talk, eat and walk. Every case is fatal.
Titan-for-Life, Tim Shaw has continued to inspire others with his courage facing the disease.
Shaw communicates through a machine now. He focuses on a letter, one-by-one, to spell out sentences.
The voice is different. It’s robotic. Nothing like Tim’s.
“This is my first interview using ‘eye gaze,'” Tim explained. “I’m not nervous, but it is.”
The sense of humor, positive attitude and inspirational words behind the voice are Tim, though.
It’s been five years since Tim was diagnosed with ALS. The disease has taken away his football career, his ability to talk, eat and walk by himself.
“I’m great. Life is difficult, but it’s full. As you might not be able to tell, I am having some trouble with my speech,” Tim joked.
The disease does not stop him from inspiring so many others.
“The support I receive is overwhelming, really. To meet people when I’m out and to hear their stories, to hear from people online, we are all going through something,” he said. “I feel like we relate. People may get some motivation from me, but believe me, I am encouraged by them, too.”
Being dubbed a “Titan-for-Life” is a role Tim cherishes.
“I love being involved. Being around the guys of the game. It lifts my spirit and pushes me forward. Amy and the ownership have been so kind. John Robinson has gone above and beyond. And from Malarkey to Vrabel, they make me a part of the family. I am so thankful.”
Tim knows his time here is limited. There’s nothing he can do about that, so instead, he spends his days making a positive impact. He uses the one thing he can control: his attitude. He’s leading others to do the same.
“Everyone who donates makes a difference. Anyone who attends a fundraiser supports someone going through it, so my job is to fight like hell to make it through each day. I make a difference by doing that. We don’t have a cure yet so there is still more to be done,” Tim said.
He continues to gain inspiration from everyone around him: “I am inspired by people pursuing their passion. A friend of mine just started a pottery class at a women’s prison. My brother loves coaching high-schoolers and my pastor at Crosspoint is passionate about prayer. These type of people inspire me.”
Shaw is working tirelessly to advocate for ALS patients and the effort to find a cure.
His T-Shaw Strong Golf tournament raised $130,000 in May.
“I want to remind people that now is the time to take action. We don’t need an ice bucket challenge to get involved. Take that step to get involved with something bigger than yourself.”
Tim will once again be involved with this year’s Walk to Defeat ALS. The walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 26th at Lipscomb University.