With ALS affecting roughly 30,000 people in the U.S. and 5,600 people being newly diagnosed yearly, this disease does not discriminate. Most importantly, ALS has NO cure and how it even comes about is unknown.
It’s the silent assassin as a person with ALS slowly begins to lose muscle control, and everyday seemingly simple tasks become impossible. Although ALS affects the body physically, it spares the person’s Mind, which allows them to be completely aware of what’s going on with their body, yet there is nothing they can do about it.
As Research and Awareness for ALS is starting to gain much needed attention, this is where we can step in to play a small part in raising both Funds and Awareness for this disease.
Last year, Mind.Set.Go. was able to raise both money and awareness for ALS through 2 separate fundraisers. Nearly $7,000 was successfully raised for Steve Gleason and Team Gleason, and none of that was possible without each person that was involved. Why stop there, right?
Well, it’s that time of the year again to play our part and help actively Give Back to another person in the ALS Community! It’s Time to make an Impact.
I was made aware of Mr. Jay Rink and his ongoing battle with ALS from a friend. Wanting to help give back in any way, I reached out to Mr. Jay’s wife, Michelle, and asked her for the opportunity to host a fundraiser benefiting Mr. Jay and his family.
They were receptive of the idea, so here we are now. Before we get into the details of the Fundraiser (which will be shared tomorrow) I wanted to first get to know Mr. Jay and share a little of his story with everyone.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet and sit down with Jay and his wife Michelle. Here’s a little bit about what I learned about Mr. Jay….
Meet Jay Rink…. A native of Metairie, member of the Class of 86′ from Brother Martin. A Father of 8, a Husband, a Friend, and a true leader in life, just to name a few of his attributes.
Jay Rink was diagnosed with ALS on June 28, 2010 and has been living and battling ALS for over 4 years now. Being a former High School and Tulane Standout football player, and State Champion Wrestler his senior year in high school, Jay Rink knows a thing or two about competing, and what it takes to win. His athletic ability and competitiveness can now be looked upon as a blessing in disguise as he is now using his competitive mindset to Live with ALS each day.
Once diagnosed in 2010, Jay said his biggest challenge…“Accepting that I have it, then learning to live with it.” He went on to say, “The best way to explain it is that I had to learn to rely heavily on others, which is a good thing, but there is still that feeling of wanting to be independent.”
Mr. Jay went on to explain how the support of those around him is humbling and has helped him adjust to Living with ALS. This is a true testament of the importance of having a supportive Team of People. A little support goes a long way, and Mr. Jay’s testimony is a great example of this.
Although Jay is limited in his physical ability, his hands are still quite full. He is a Father of 8 children, ranging from age 11-24.
Mr. Jay went on to mention that another challenge is being a parent and communicating to his children. “For the most part, they know when I’m feeling good or I’m feeling bad, but it’s still difficult at times to communicate how I truly feel.”
Mr. Jay’s determination to Live with ALS stems from his passion to see his children grow. “They keep me focused and busy,” he says.
Next, I asked Mr. Jay if there was anything else that motivates him to keep moving forward everyday.
“My parents. I live for my parents because I don’t want them to experience losing a son. I’m going to outlive their ass!”
As you can tell, the competitor in Jay still lives strong. He is a fighter in all aspects of the word, and it was enjoyable to hear the enthusiasm he spoke with when talking about his parents.
Mr. Jay then went on to talk about how much he loves Football and Wrestling as well, which has been a passion of his since he was younger. He even pointed out his framed wrestling jersey from his senior year in which he won the State Championship.
Jay can be described as a standout of standouts when it came to the football field and wrestling mat.
Wanting to know if there was anything specifically that the money raised would be good for, Mr. Jay demonstrated his true selflessness and his love for wanting to give back to others. Being that Mr. Jay recently received the new Eye Gaze equipment, which helps him to speak and carry out other simple tasks with his eyes, Mr. Jay simply stated he would like to help some other friends in the ALS community receive the same equipment that he now has.
So this fundraiser will be unique because it benefits Mr. Jay in which he will use a portion of it to benefit others, which I believe is a WIN-WIN.
Lastly, I asked Mr. Jay if he could share one message with everyone, what would it be….
“That’s a good question,” he replied. As he took a second to think, I eagerly sat, waiting to hear his response. It’s hard to explain, but his response almost lifted a weight off my shoulders. Damn near left me speechless.
“Once you put your mind to something, then you can do it. It’s about having a Positive Attitude, and it’s what you choose. Our attitude is a choice, and it all depends on what you choose. But you have to want to do it. You have to have that desire.”
Mr. Jay’s attitude and outlook is a huge reason why he is able to maintain such a determination and joy for life. He is a great example of what it means to maintain a positive attitude. He has learned to take his situation and look at the good that has come from it as opposed to what he is incapable of now.
Another thing I took note of from speaking with Mr. Jay is one main word he continually used was FOCUS. I noticed that he is a man of focus. He mentioned several times about being focused.
He is focused on seeing his kids grow, focused on outliving his parents, focused on helping others in any way possible. At one point before his diagnosis, he was focused on his job, but now his focus has shifted to his Family.
He is selfless. He is a person of great spirit, and it was so inspiring to sit across from a person with such a great focus and listen to his words.
This is why I’m excited to have the opportunity to help Give Back to a man like Mr. Jay. He is an inspiration to so many because of his determination and his actions. He’s more than just a person with ALS. He Gives Back, he Inspires, and he believes in the power of a positive mindset. He is what Mind.Set.Go. stands for and much more.
This disease may restrict him physically, but his Determination, Focus, and Will to Fight on is something that is very clear with Mr. Jay.
Tomorrow, at 10 a.m., the Fundraising Game Plan will be announced, and Volunteers are needed in order to make this a success. We are setting the bar high, but with help and support like Mr. Jay spoke of, we will be able to reach our goal.
A special Thank You goes to Mr. Jay and Mrs. Michelle Rink for taking the time out of their day to sit down with me and for allowing us to put together this fundraiser for their family. It was truly an amazing experience.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Mr. Jay Rink. Feel Free to share this around, and stay posted for more details tomorrow.
Think Positive. Our Attitude is a Choice.
Think Positive. Live Positive.