January 2017 our family got the news that my Dad, Rick Burgess, was diagnosed with ALS.
Because ALS will soon take my Dad's voice, mobility, and eventually his life, I asked him to sit down with him and as we talked we recorded our conversation.
I told him, “Dad, selfishly I am doing this for me. I want this memory, I want this conversation, and I want something I can keep forever. Soon you won’t be able to talk and the gift of this conversation will be something I can cherish forever."
Dad, a man that has worked and built many businesses' over the course of his life, will soon not be able to work, at the same time, his wife Maria, will stop working to stay home to take care of him full-time. A man that has closely done it all will soon not be able to do much of anything. In the course of his life, he's raised 6 children and recently added two new kids to his pack when he remarried in 2014. He has taken these kids in as his own, even bringing the youngest to America to offer her a college education and better life.
Dad, would never say this but to fully grasp what he has accomplished as well as all that has been taken, it needs to be said. At one time Dad was putting 3 kids in college, in 3 separate states. His businesses were booming and he found ways to continually invest in his family, his community, and causes across the world (Mission trips, volunteering his time and talents etc).
In 2007, the Great Recession hit, and like many families, it hit our family hard. Dad lost all but one business and both of his homes. To fight all he was losing he took his retirement and any money left over and invested back into a business he was desperately trying to keep in our family. Unsuccessfully, he closed the doors of this business -- one that he had for well over 30 years.
I think we all wondered if we would lose him with so much of the devastation that occurred in those years, but Dad again, like always, found a way to get back up. He humbly minimized his entire life and learned to live off of next to nothing. He now rents a small apartment above his last small business in Aberdeen, WA. I know this man will be working until he doesn't have a choice.
In this time the family has #cometogether to let you, Dad, know, what you can't do, we will do whatever it takes to do it for you. We want your last few years with us, the best yet.
One way you can give back and raise awareness for ALS and all families touched by this devastating disease is by purchasing a Fight ALS t-shirt, BeatALS t-shirt, or #Cometogether headband. All funds from these items made by Jacknut Apparel & Harts & Pearls will be donated to Fight ALS. Plus, these ultra soft t's are even available in youth sizes!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this video series!
Thank you, Dad, for letting us capture this memory that we can cherish forever. We love you and are fighting with you.
The family has also been planning a fundraiser that will help Fight ALS: Bad Singers & Worst Songs Benefit, Aug 5th.