Gardnerville resident brings viral sensation local
September 3, 2014
Nationwide, people are dumping buckets of ice-cold water on themselves to spread awareness and encourage donations to the ALS Foundation.
Videos of the phenomenon have gone viral, with the challenge arriving in Carson Valley.
David Lyons, 50, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in January.
“First I thought he had had a mini-stroke,” wife of 13 years, Michele Lyons said. “He was twitching in his arms. We really didn’t know what it was or what it meant.”
Dr. Stephen Brown ran tests and determined that what David was experiencing was out his realm of care and referred him to Dr. John Lagios, a neurologist in Carson City.
It was Lagios who diagnosed David with ALS.
“This disease is terminal, and that hits you like a ton of bricks,” Michele said. “The doctor’s diagnosis basically turned our world upside-down, like it would anyone.”
David’s disease is progressing slowly, but changes in his abilities are starting to show.
“We definitely see the changes in his hands and his speech,” Michele said. “His hands have gotten to the point where he needs help putting on a belt or tying his shoes, and his speech has definitely changed since the diagnosis.”
He worked for Charter Communications for 15 years.
He resigned in July due to the disease.
“He knew he couldn’t perform his job at 100 percent anymore,” Michele said. “He is definitely struggling with not being able to work and support his family anymore, but his spirit and attitude are good.”
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS destroys neurons in the brain that communicate with the muscles.
Many people diagnosed become wheelchair-bound within a few years of diagnosis.
David’s doctors are estimating that he won’t need a wheelchair for 2-3 years.
However, the Lyons are aware of the changes that a wheelchair will require to not only life, but also their home.
The Lyons have a website and Facebook page where donations can be made to help fund the $40,000 renovation project for their home.
Rudy Hammond, David’s uncle, has taken on the role of head of construction on the renovation as well as taking charge of the donations.
“David is family and the diagnosis was horrible for the whole family,” Hammond said. “I wanted to make this a mission for myself. I have quite a background in commercial construction and I am able to put people together to get things done.”
The community has donated nearly $12,000, as well as volunteering their time to help with construction.
“The community seriously has been fantastic,” Michele said. “They have stepped up to donate their time to add on to the house and certain businesses have stepped up with materials. It has made me want to cry. And I have. This community is like a family.”
David coached little league for his son for six years, and friends he has made during that time have also offered their time and services.
“About 10 guys who work with a friend of David’s from little league works with AC and has offered to come donate their time at the house,” Michele said.
The family will be hosting an ice bucket challenge of their own 11 a.m.-2 pm. Sept. 13 in Lampe Park at the gazebo.
“The Charter employees have been great through the whole thing,” Hammond said.
The Lyons have three children, Steven, 11, Sarah, 9 and Ashley, 7, who attend Scarselli Elementary School.
The Carson Medical Group in Carson City completed an ice bucket challenge last week in David’s honor.