Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Update on Steven Gey's Condition

Gey I previously have blogged (here, here, and here) the tragic news that one of the true giants and nicest people in our business, Steven G. Gey, David and Deborah Fonvielle and Donald and Janet Hinkle Professor of Law at Florida State, is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  Please take the time to read Steve's most recent update on his condition and Dan Markel's post.  I guarantee it will send chills down your spine and tears down your cheek:

So what is one to make of all this? The first thing is that fatal diseases are a bummer, but the second (and more important) thing is that people's responses to fatal diseases make the human race look downright respectable. The truth is, my existence has become very precarious, and but for the unsolicited generosity of all these people, I would already be dead. It saddens me that I will never be able to repay any of you for what you've done. But please understand that if you could cash out gratitude, you would all be rich beyond belief.

ALS is a wasting disease. Anyone with ALS soon becomes like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, with no arms and no legs, and no ability to move or to act on the world. The only thing we can hope for is to retain the Black Knight’s ability to curse our condition and everything it represents. As the limbless Black Knight said to King Arthur, "Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!" It is clear that I have not gone through the worst of the disease, because barring some unexpected medical advance, the disease will soon kill me. In fact, statistically speaking, most ALS patients die within three years of the onset of symptoms. That means my expiration date is this coming July.

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