Last week, we met Katie Timp who shared her father’s ALS diagnosis.  This week, Katie offers more of her family’s journey with this illness.

As you may recall from last week, Katie received a graduate school scholarship that contractually bound her to remain in New York City upon graduation.  Faced with her father’s diagnosis, she had a difficult decision to make.

All Roads Lead Back Home, Part II – A Guest Post by Katie Timp

I looked into the scholarship contract and realized that if I defaulted, I would have to pay back the entire scholarship within a year’s time.  How could I ever do this?

I spoke with the NYC Department of Education director of the scholarship and she was wonderful in understanding the situation. They allowed me to pay back the amount over six years with no interest. Bright rays were beginning to appear through the dark cloud that had been hovering over me since I heard the news of my Dad’s diagnosis. My Dad would later call these things “Silver Linings.

A second Silver Lining for me occurred when I received a job offer with Wise County (Virginia) Public Schools to be an occupational therapist before they even met me! So, I had a job, found an apartment to rent that was about 10 minutes from my parents’ home, and boarded the plane to fly back home.

It has been a little over a year since I have returned home. It has been a roller coaster of emotions, trials and tribulations, and immense amounts of support from all angles.

When first coming home, my Dad said to me, “I wonder what it will be like to not be able to hug you back?” I have carried this with me everyday and when I enter my parents house I ALWAYS give him the biggest hug I can.

I must help him transfer from his mobile wheelchair to the couch. I help him remove his shoes and socks because his is unable to reach down. He is not able to physically care for Beth like he has throughout her thirty years of life, which has been one of the most difficult things for him.

Instead of looking down and feeling hate and anger, we, as a family unit, have chosen to look forward in the most positive way possible.

Image 2Through this diagnosis, my family has created Team Timp. We came up with four important words that I focus on each day to help me in one way or another:

COURAGE

SERENITY

HOPE

LOVE

My Dad has begun motivational speaking at churches, civic groups, high schools, and other organizations to share his story. He is sharing the positive perspective of what fighting ALS looks like.

I was fortunate enough to be the team captain of Team Timp in the 2012 Walk to Defeat ALS in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee which is the closest local chapter to Bristol, VA. Team Timp raised $33,500 towards ALS research, medical supplies and equipment for patients, and overall support to help families dealing with this horrible disease. Through my Dad’s speaking opportunities and fundraising efforts we have raised a total of more than $90,000 to go towards Emory University ALS center* where my Dad is receiving treatment to hopefully find a cure for this disease.

Image 4

Team Timp

* * * * * * *

Next week, Katie discusses difficult conversations and feelings surrounding her father’s condition.  Thanks again to Katie and the Timp family for sharing their thoughts with us.

*If Katie’s story has moved you and you’d like to make a donation in honor of Phil Timp to the Emory ALS Center, visit here.

2 Responses to “The Caregiver Series : “All Roads Lead Back Home” Part II”

  1. on 11 Feb 2013 at 10:18 amhot Nai Nai

    Thanks again. Your words and attitude are inspirational.

  2. on 11 Feb 2013 at 11:04 amSusan

    Katie,
    Thank you for your inspiration and sharing your story of your Dad’s illness. My mom is also in a wheelchair and our family has had to rally around her as yours have rallied around your dad. There are many “silver linings” and blessings, the best of which is the treasured time we have with them in their last years. Blessings to you and your family, Katie!

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