In July 2019, longtime GTHL coach and trainer Chris Tracey was diagnosed with ALS (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) at the age of 45. Chris has always been very active in all aspects of life between spending time with his family as well as playing and coaching hockey five nights a week.
ALS is an incurable disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. It’s characterized by stiff muscles, muscle twitching, and gradually worsening weakness due to muscles decreasing in size. It may begin with weakness in the arms or legs, or with difficulty speaking or swallowing. About half of the people affected develop at least mild difficulties with thinking and behavior and most people experience pain. Most eventually lose the ability to walk, use their hands, speak, swallow, and breathe. Coping with the physical, emotional, financial and legal ramifications of an ALS diagnosis is something that most of us will thankfully never have to deal with.
Due to his diagnosis, Chris is no longer able to work or play both – two of the passions in his life. Chris is only able to coach his Don Mills Flyers team from them bench only at this time. Long-term disability coverage and critical illness insurance are not available to Chris with an ALS diagnosis. This, combined with his inability to work has left him in a financially dire situation, trying to cover daily bills, medical fees, and mortgage payments. Going forward Chris is going to need a safe and accommodated living environment. These are just a few of the challenges and financial stressors Chis will face going forward. We are asking for your help to support Chris and his family through their fight with ALS.
There are a few ways you can help Chris and his family. The Don Mills Flyers have set up a GoFundMe account to donate to Chris and his family. The Club has also organized a golf tournament, taking place on May 2. Please see the flyer for more information.