Nearly 11 months after being diagnosed with Asymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Connecticut educator Andrew Niblock is using his diagnosis to teach students about life.
Niblock, the head of the elementary school at Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, said he wanted to continue working after being diagnosed with the disease to be teach his students a lesson about life and be an example for them.
“I want children to understand curve balls,” the father of two told ABC News. “No matter what is thrown your way […] if a kid powers through or makes the most of something later because of knowing me, that’d be great.”
ALS, a rare and incurable progressive neurodegenerative disease, affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and causes the brain to be unable to initiate and control muscle movement, according to the ALS Association. As a result, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe, with some patients ending up completely paralyzed in the later stages of the disease.
Instead of hiding the changes occurring to his speech and mobility, Niblock is working with the school’s headmaster to create age-appropriate videos with the goal of teaching students about ALS and spreading awareness about it.
By being open about his battle with the disease, Niblock said he hopes to convey to the students that hope is resilient.
“Hope can drive you forward,” he said. “And I hope […] that the kids see that, and run with it.”