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Founder of Ride4Life Provides a Motivating Essay

Anniversary of Hope

Chris Pendergast, ALS Patient
Ride For Life Founder & President

Hope is the most powerful force we possess. With it mountains are moved and miracles are realized. I once read, “Hope will never leave you, it is you that will abandon it!”

On Columbus Day, I received the long awaited telephone call from my doctor who delivered the devastating diagnosis. I plunged into a dark, frightening world. Medicine offered nothing. The prognosis was bone chillingly grim. The advice given to me, “Put your life in order.”  Sound advice according to most since ALS is considered hopeless. Patients are expected to die within a few years of diagnosis.

I turned to my family, my friends and my faith. They were my reservoir of strength. Quietly, I held fast to a glimmering feeling deep within me. I hoped. There was no plan, or expectation. I had no vision of the future.  I did not expect a cure. All I had was an indefinable but unshakeable sense of hope. Though afraid, I took each day as it came and considered it a gift. Eight thousand, three hundred and ninety five days later, each day continues to be a gift.

Tuesday begins my 24th year of living with ALS. I celebrated my anniversary of living with good friends , delicious food and a glorious setting at the Cowfish restaurant on Shinnecock Bay. Life poses great challenges but is precious and worth living, even with the struggle.  Although now 67 and quite disabled, I continue to hope, for God is indeed good. 

I hope for my wife.  I hope for my children and grandchild. I hope for patients newly diagnosed. I hope for the dedicated researchers.

Also, I hope for all of you who read this. Remember, it is people who abandon hope. It will never abandon you. It has been at my side this whole remarkable  journey.