The Crespo family of Cooper City has been walking to fight ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, for the past three years.
“Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed and every 90 minutes someone passes from this disease. We’re very active because you never want to see anybody go through that,” Jill Crespo said.
She watched her high school sweetheart, husband and the father of their three children lose his life to ALS.
“It was September 2009. He had been complaining a couple of months before that he couldn’t lift the weights like he was normally used to," she said. "They tell you in the beginning two to five years is the life expectancy. I never expected him to be gone in eight months."
With ALS nerve cells die so they no longer send messages to muscles. Muscles weaken and eventually stop working. Patients eventually lose the ability to talk, walk and breathe.
48-year-old Eddie Crespo could not make it to his son’s high school graduation.
“To watch your dad go through that, it’s probably one of the roughest things I’ve had to see,“ said Dylan Crespo, who is now 19.
He helped his dad coach his youngest daughter’s soccer game just a few weeks before he died.
“It was a very special moment because I know he liked to coach me in soccer and he liked to be out there with me and coach,” said 9-year-old Alexis.
Dylan is now studying to be a paramedic. The oldest daughter, 24-year-old Nicole, is considering a career in physical therapy to help other patients with ALS.
“I remember what he went through and trying to help him like move his arms and what not. It was so difficult and I definitely want to help other people that have it,” she said. “I promised him before he passed away that I’m going to help find a cure and I will not stop doing the walks."
The South Florida Walk to Defeat ALS is Saturday at TY Park in Hollywood. For more information on the walk, click here.