I'm a team sport guy. I love competition, but the camaraderie of a team, the sense of being part of something bigger than oneself, is what has always been my favorite part.
My journey with ALS is a team sport. This weekend friends and family descended upon Greenwich for a remarkable weekend of time together and time spent on two, or three, wheels riding in the Tri State trek – building awareness and support for ALS TDI. It was a long weekend I will never forget. We are so grateful.
The broader fight against ALS is a team sport as well. There has never been a more exciting time in the research and development of potential therapies for this disease, and that progress is being made largely through the collaboration of the top minds, universities, and clinics around the country. Organizations like ALS Finding a Cure, that encourage and facilitate collaboration among scientists at places like the Packard Center and ALS TDI, are helping to make this happen.
Because this fight is a team sport, I believe a cure is on the horizon.
I loved college. I loved being with my friends, being in Virginia, and playing anything with a ball.
When I was diagnosed with ALS my four college roommates and rugby teammates jumped on the opportunity to don spandex, hop on a bike – to my knowledge only one of them actually owned one in September, purchase plane tickets from the far reaches of the country, and ride a ton of miles to support me and the fight for a cure for ALS.
I have been a coach my entire professional life. I have seen former high school basketball teammates in each other's weddings. Teammates can be the most amazing friends.
I am thrilled to be back with four of the best in two days.
20 June 2017
Fellow W&L Ruggers –
Last July, one of our own W&L Rugby Minks, Andrew Niblock ‘97, was diagnosed with ALS. Andrew was a lock, team captain, and club president his senior year. Over the past year, he has shown how to inspire people battling obstacles through his courage, resilience and indomitable spirit. As the Head of Lower School at Greenwich Country Day School, he has been a shining example to his students of how to handle adversity. He was recently honored with the Community Changemaker Award at the Greenwich International Film Festival and was featured earlier this week on Good Morning America.
This weekend, several of his rugby teammates are helping to raise money for ALS research by riding in the Tri-State Trek Bike Ride to End ALS. While tremendous progress and awareness around ALS has occurred over the past few years, time is critical in pushing a cure across the finish line. If you would like to support TeamNiblock, you can use the attached link: http://tst.als.net/teamniblock. Please keep the Niblock family in your thoughts and prayers.
The photo above shows Andrew on the right.
John Garvey ’97 – Hooker
Chris Dalton ’97 - #8
Brian Kuck ’97 – Prop
Steve Tye ’97 – Fly Half
Tom Lovell '91 - Fly Half
Over the last month I have had a few opportunities to reflect out loud on my journey with ALS thus far. The support for me and the broader fight for a cure for ALS has been amazing, and it fuels me every day. Below is the substance of my reflection:
I am generally an optimistic person. I believe that life is good and that the glass is perpetually half-full.
I believe that going through life as an optimistic person is nice, but it is not enough.
On this journey I have learned it is profoundly important to be hopeful
There's a difference between being optimistic and being hopeful.
Hope is a state of mind – it's resilient – and it can drive you forward
A rainy day, a lousy night's sleep, can shake your optimism
But nothing, trust me on this, nothing, can shake hope.
I am so grateful for the things that give me hope:
I am hopeful for the science
I am hopeful because of my faith and
I am hopeful because of the people around me who support me every day on this journey.
Due to a ruptured spleen, Eliza got to deliver these words at the Greenwich International Film Festival, but I made a relatively quick recovery and was able to give the commencement address at Hamden Hall – one of the great honors of my professional life.
This Monday morning, Good Morning America will air a piece on the journey our school community has taken this year. I am hoping our message can start conversations – conversations make a difference.