Today’s blog post marks the return of our good friend Gregg Ratliff, who penned the reoccurring series “Perspectives: It’s All in How You Look at it” for us a few years ago. In 2009, Gregg’s wife Nancy was diagnosed with ALS, and he became her full-time caregiver for the next seven years. The Ratliff family turned their grief into action when they started the Kimmswick 5k in 2010, shortly after Nancy’s diagnosis with ALS.
As we approach the 10th Anniversary Kimmswick 5K in a year that has been like no other for us all, Gregg offers his perspective on how momentous events impact all of us, and how the Kimmswick 5K continues to make a difference in the lives of people with ALS. Thank you Gregg for sharing your thoughts and memories with us!
By Gregg Ratliff,
We’ve all experienced events in our lives when we could identify exactly where we were when the event occurred due to the magnitude of the milestone. The “Greatest Generation” would probably site the attack on Pearl Harbor. The “Baby Boomers” often select the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The “Millennials” most likely think of 9-11 and the Twin Towers. Perhaps “Generation Z” will focus on the Coronavirus?
What caused me to start thinking along this line was because I was thinking to myself I know exactly where I was on July 23, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. I was at Barnes Jewish Hospital in the office of Neurologist, Dr. Muhammad Alozi. Dr. Alozi’s words to my wife often echo in my mind…
“Nancy, I hope I’m wrong but, I do not think I am. I believe you have ALS. I am so sorry.” Many lives changed on that day. Every 90 minutes another group of lives change.
It would be very easy to slide into a morose, glum mind set when reflecting on this occasion. Instead, I’m going to focus on some of the blessings that have taken place since that day. For example there are families, friends, and a medical community that has pulled together with a common purpose. The ALS Association’s support and kindness to help those of who are facing one of the most difficult times in our life has been second to none. Additionally, there have been many fundraisers to help families during their financial distress.
I would like to focus on the last for-mentioned area. It would take hours, if not days, to elaborate the appreciation we have for fundraisers like the Kimmswick 5K in honor of my wife, Nancy Ratliff. It’s not only has been a financial blessing, it’s also the uplifting feeling of support during a time when discouraging news seems to be abundant.
Ten years ago Nancy was one year into the fight of her lifetime. Our oldest son, Jason, suggested a 5K fundraiser could be a win-win for our family, the ALS Association and our community, while getting the word out about a disease that often flies under the radar screen.
Nancy was friends with Mary Hostetter, the owner of the Blue Owl Restaurant & Bakery. The moment I met with Mary and her daughter Kim they we’re “all in” to become the primary host sponsor for what was to become known as the Kimmswick 5K. The Blue Owl staff has treated us like family.
We have had several continuous sponsors like Home Service Oil, Precision Dental, Imperial Fruit Market, First Baptist Church of Arnold, Pharmacist and friend Colin Leach, and others. The Windsor high school track team has provided our course marshals each year. The number of volunteers has been nothing short of amazing! And this could not happen without the loyal runners, walkers, cheering fans and Kimmswick merchants. We are so blessed!
This year COVID-19 has affected us all in many ways. It will likewise affect this years’ 5K. Precautions will be taken to keep the faithful followers of our treasured event safe. This is the tenth anniversary of the Kimmswick 5K and although there will be some changes, the spirit of raising finances to help those affected by this dreaded disease and ultimately find a cure, has not changed. Next year we hope that circumstances will allow us to return to the in-person event that we have come to love and enjoy. Until then, please help us fight the good fight!