Doug Clough is a fearless ALS advocate from Gilbert, Ariz., who has made it his mission to make a huge impact on people living with ALS. Despite his ALS diagnosis in April 2014, he keeps going. He is involved in ALS advocacy in every way possible, from participating in The ALS Association National Advocacy Day to serving on the National ALS Registry task force to becoming a Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) Research Ambassador to participating in an ALS clinical trial, and this year being awarded the Iron Horse Award. Today, we are pleased to be joined by Doug who shares his story how he uses his endless energy to live life to its maximum potential.
Doug has always been active, but having ALS gave him a new life purpose. “I will do anything to help spread awareness for ALS and what it means for those of us diagnosed with it,” he says. “ALS has sharpened my life focus, which has resulted in a HUGE IMPACT in my life, and I hope in others as well.”
When asked what makes him unique, he quickly responded, “I am super positive. I have always approached life with a positive attitude and ALS has not changed that. If anything, it has improved it!” Doug is also very competitive, which stems from his mother’s impressive work ethic. He says, “Competitors do not like to lose, but they will lose some time during their life. How they respond is very telling.”
As a result, he continues to improve and learn from his losses. He was and still is eager to live life to his fullest. “I have a tagline from way before ALS – Love life and LIVE LIFE! I am not going to let ALS stop me from living life.”
This optimism also applies to Doug’s great sense of humor. He continues, “Being an expert wheelchair user, I sometimes forget that gravity applies to my 400-plus-pound chair. I have flipped my chair not one or two times, but three times. The third time was the biggest fall. I was at a golf fundraiser and trying to keep up with the golf carts. As I was going as fast as I could down a ramp to a tunnel, the carts suddenly stopped in front of me. I hit the power off button by mistake, which threw my chair forward with me leading the way. I was upset that I couldn’t lift myself up, but a friend gracefully reminded me that this was an ALS golf tournament, and everyone knew what I was struggling with. He told me to put my big boy pants on and let them help. I skinned my hands and knees, which made me laugh. I haven’t skinned my knees for over 30 years and it was fun knowing that I still could.”
Doug says The ALS Association has helped him in so many ways, such as loaning equipment that has aided his financial burden, giving valuable and vast resource information about ALS, and most importantly, experiencing the genuine caring from the people who work for The ALS Association. “I have an exceptional ALS Association Chapter in Arizona and that helps a lot, including sunset dinners, adaptive bowling, and this coming week fishing. That helps our approach to living with ALS and not just having ALS,” Doug says.
He continues: “I love participating in assorted fundraisers. I know our teams may not raise the most money, but I bet my teams are some of the most educated about ALS, because my wife Karen and I make sure they are.”
The ALS Association has also helped him focus his energies where they are best used. “I love going to The ALS Association office every week and doing mundane but important work. I take joy in being the best label applier and letter folder there is. It allows the staff time to better do their jobs.” he says.
Doug is passionate about supporting The ALS Association in any way possible. “Please do not think that your donations don’t help, no matter what the amount, your support matters. ALS financially stretches many families, and it will continue to increase as more people with ALS live longer as treatments, equipment, and medicines continue to help our ALS community. If you don’t feel you can donate money, please consider donating your time. Both money and time matter. Each one of us who is living with ALS – patient, spouse, family, friends, caregivers, and more – it all matters to us!”