BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the simple things keeping Harford County’s Fred Carlson so calm in a chair that’s meant to rob his freedom.
You wouldn’t know that he has ALS from watching him walk his service dog, Marley. His identity is a Green Beret. Platoon Leader of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Marathon runner.READ MORE: Brigance Brigade Foundation Annual 5.7K Race Virtual Again This Year
The unforgiving disease is in year 12 of battling a man – not the other way around.
“Within half an hour of seeing a neurologist, he suspected that I may have ALS,” Carlson said. “When he told me that, everything went into tunnel vision. It was like I was in an echo chamber.”
His home is now wheelchair accessible. The marathons he ran in the past are over but his wife of 50 years never leaves his side. “I owe everything to Mary Jo,” he said.
“With the Brigance Brigade Foundation having the caregiver’s group, it’s really been a blessing,” said Mary Jo with her hand over Fred’s shoulder.
The BBF is one of the few organizations funding the need for in-home care for the Pals Grant Program, people living with ALS. Since 2014, they’ve awarded 188 grants.READ MORE: Sign-Up For The 2021 Brigance Brigade Foundation Virtual Run/Walk
“They give us support. We share information. We share ideas. We laugh. Sometimes we cry, but we’re there to support each other,” said Mary Jo.
Their 5.7k Championship Race is Sunday, May 23. It’s the foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Even though Fred can no longer walk or run, he won’t let it stop him from fighting.
“I’ve always said it is what it is,” he said. ”It’s a trite statement but it’s my new normal, my new reality, so I take pleasure in the things I can do.”
Race miles can be logged on any course including treadmills. The goal is to raise 100 thousand dollars.
For more information, go to wjz.com/brigance.