As a kid, the only thing I knew about ALS (or as it’s called here, Motor Neurone Disease), was that my friend’s mum died of it.  He never spoke about it.  (I’m not even sure how old he was when she died).

When I got older, I found a book that belonged to my mum as a kid. It’s called “A Time to Love, A Time To Mourn”, by Paige Dixon.  (It’s also known as “May I Cross Your Golden River?”).

This book is about a young man who is going about his life; he meets a girl, they fall in love and start planning their life together.  And then he gets sick.  Eventually he’s diagnosed with ALS, and the book tells the story of a life cut short by ALS.

I sobbed myself to sleep many times reading that book.

I haven’t read it for close on 20 years, but I can still vividly remember the story.

So why am I writing this?

The whole point of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise money AND awareness of ALS.  I don’t have any money to donate, I sure as hell am not dumping ice water over myself (hey, I’m just getting over the flu AND it’s winter here), so I thought I’d do my bit to raise awareness.

I find that I get a better understanding of something through fictional application.  I managed a (Christian) bookstore for 5 years and during that time I devoured more books than usual (and I’m a book worm).  I rapidly discovered that while reading a non-fiction book on say, forgiveness, was great and there would be things that I’d learn from that book, picking up a novel and reading a story where forgiveness was a central theme, where it was applied in “real (fake) life”, I’d UNDERSTAND what the non-fiction book was talking about.

So again….why am I writing this?

I want to recommend the book I mentioned above to anyone and everyone to read.  It’s not an easy book to track down. It was written in 1975, is not available on Google Books, or Amazon Kindle.  Amazon has a few second-hand copies around, but maybe your local library would be a better option.

PLEASE go out of your way to find this book and read it.  Give it to your friends and get them to read it.

And if you can, donate.  (as always, do your research before you donate!).

(originally posted over on my tumblr)


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