ALS Stories

Darron Funk, Team Challenge ALS Champion

Darron Funk  Darron Funk  Darron Funk

Darron Funk, 56, grew up the oldest of five children in Pocatello.  In high school, he played middle linebacker and nose guard for the Highland Rams. He served an 18 month mission in Tokyo before earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Idaho State University. Darron and Kristi Price were married for 26 years. They had four children: Adrie, Erin, Alix, and Garrett. He was thrilled to share his love of skiing, both on snow and in water, with his kids. He decided to pursue an advanced degree and became a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Darron was employed by Boise Anesthesia at Saint Alphonsus for over 13 years. He also worked independently at the Boise VA and hospitals from Weiser to Mountain Home to McCall. In his free time, Darron enjoyed running marathons, boating, slalom skiing, participating in century rides, and vacationing at Lake Powell.

In November 2011, Darron started experiencing upper body muscle twitches and slight weakness in his right arm. In July 2012, at age 48, he was officially diagnosed with ALS. Six months before being diagnosed a co-worker introduced him to Shannon Armstrong. Darron found a partner to run, bike, and enjoy life with.

Due to the skill needed to perform his job and worsening symptoms Darron retired from nursing six months after being diagnosed.  He began exploring options for treating his symptoms and slowing the progression of this fatal disease. He is slowly losing his ability to speak, walk, and function independently because of ALS.  Despite losing his ability to run and ski, Darron keeps an optimistic attitude participating in many activities with support from his family and friends. He enjoys going on road trips, listening to the Dave Matthews band, attending live concerts, and being outside. His large family has grown to include seven active grandchildren: Rhys, Daryn, Owen, Rorey, Silas, Ollie, and Oaklyn; along with Shannon's two boys, Zach and Jacob.

Darron’s family and friends, several of whom are avid cyclists, came together to start Tour d’ Funk. They partnered with the ALS Association Evergreen Chapter and are largely responsible for this event occurring. Their aim is to show their support for Darron and others living with ALS.  

Join us for Tour d’Funk Treasure Valley Ride to Defeat ALS in June 2021.

 

Heidi Smith, Team Challenge ALS Champion

Heidi

When my husband Frank was diagnosed with ALS we were stunned. He would get up early in the morning to get a workout in before work. He was always running around with the kids and very active.

Frank was diagnosed with ALS and told, “If you have always wanted to take a trip, now is the time to do it.” The next day we bought a mini cooper and started planning a trip to Italy.

We got involved with our local chapter of the ALS Association shortly after Frank was diagnosed – they were always very supportive and provided guidance for us as we struggled to live with this illness. We received information about the illness, attended support groups, and borrowed equipment from the loan closet.

This disease is horrific. Frank stopped walking, and lost his ability to eat and talk. There is no cure and little treatment. It is so hard stand by and watch the person that you love deteriorate.

In 2015, I joined Team Challenge ALS by participating in our local Spartan Race - it was incredible. It has really invigorated me and I can’t wait to do it again next year. During the race, we climb over walls, crawl under barbed wire, slog through mud and jump over fire. Thinking about Frank gives me the strength to keep going. Frank lost his battle with ALS. I still do it for Frank and others who have ALS. Those coping with the disease on a daily basis face a much bigger challenge simply going through daily tasks. Surely, we can face the hurdles of the Spartan race or any other endurance race obstacle for one day. Join #TeamChallengeALS.