All month, we are featuring stories of individuals who are having an impact in the fight against ALS.
Meet Tim Ritter from Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tim is a husband, father, Navy veteran, professor and a person living with ALS. We recently sat down with Tim to learn about the most impactful moments in his life that has defined who he is today.
In 1991, the proudest moment of my life was the day my son, Blayne, was born. He has grown into an incredible man, a father couldn’t have asked for anything more.
In 1996, I was a professor of physics at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and serving in the Navy Reserves. Things were going very well for me. Among the accomplishments that defined this year for me, were being named the Director of our undergraduate research center, winning a University of North Carolina system-wide teaching award and being named the commencement speaker for our winter commencement. On top of that, my research team had recently been selected to fly an experiment with NASA and I was selected for a three year recall to active duty with the United States Navy to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. You could say it was a busy year.
In 2015, I still remember very clearly hearing the words, “You have been diagnosed with ALS.” Three neurologists at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center informed me of the diagnosis. My immediate reaction was shock and devastation, but everyone in the room was also very sad and I was fighting back the tears. At the time, I was experiencing very mild symptoms, so it all seemed very surreal to me.
Tim finished our interview with words of encouragement.
“The most profound experience I’ve had since my ALS diagnosis has been learning to deal with the physical limitations the disease presents. I was always a very self-sufficient, independent person and now there are so many things that I cannot do for myself. But I want to encourage people to remember that even though our muscles are deteriorating, we still have sharp minds and are able to contribute to the world in different ways than we may have in the past.”
Join Tim in his battle against ALS. No one fights this disease alone.