Living with ALS: Bayonne High School confidence guard, manager vows to keep fighting

May 13, 2016 - als

BAYONNE — When Brandon Smith started to spasmodic offence his debate final January, it wasn’t transparent what a means was.

The 30-year-old Bayonne High School confidence ensure pronounced his mother, a nurse, beheld it first. Smith’s fiancée, Christyann Altamirano, beheld it too, though they suspicion it was maybe due to exhaustion.

“We suspicion (it was because) we was operative dual jobs,” Smith said, adding that he was also operative as a concierge during an unit formidable in Harrison during a time.

Altamirano, who also works during Bayonne High School as a permanent surrogate teacher, pronounced Smith slurred his debate off and on until that summer, when other people started to notice it.

After he saw a few doctors in July, a diagnosis was clear: it was ALS.

“It was like a bad dream,” Smith said.

Amyotrophic parallel sclerosis, mostly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a neurodegenerative illness that affects haughtiness cells in a mind and a spinal cord, according to the ALS Association. With intentional flesh movement gradually affected, people with ALS might remove a ability to speak, eat, pierce and breathe.

There is now no heal for ALS. Although a meant presence time with ALS is 3 to 5 years, many people live five, 10 or some-more years, according to a ALS Association.

Smith, who helps manager football and basketball during Bayonne High School, was means to speak in a crude intonation about what his life has been like given being diagnosed with a dreaded disease.

The lifelong Bayonne proprietor can still expostulate a automobile and walk, and he still goes to work. But he takes dual drugs — one to extend his life and a other to stop a twitches that he practice all over his body.

“If we lay down all day, my physique gets stiff. So we come to work,” Smith added. “In certain cases, like perplexing to mangle adult a quarrel — it’ll be a small harder now than in years past.”

Despite those difficulties, Smith managed to manager both basketball and football during Bayonne High School this past propagandize year.

Smith has been an partner football manager for 8 years; a freshmen basketball conduct manager for 3 years; and a girl varsity basketball conduct manager for one year. As in a past, he also skeleton to manager a Bayonne Renegades, a girl football module for children ages 6 to 14, after this year.

During a sit-down talk with The Jersey Journal, a 30-year-old’s passion for football was evident.

While during Bayonne High School, Smith played linebacker and fullback, and helped move a BHS football group to a state championship in 2002. He after went on to play reserve during UMass.

In college, Smith was on a group that done it to a 2006 NCAA Division we FCS Championship Game though mislaid to Appalachian State.

In 2007, Smith got a audition with a Giants. Though he didn’t make a cut, his adore for a competition has persisted. He went on to play for bar teams and has been stoking a abandon of his passion by coaching.

Altamirano pronounced notwithstanding a new hurdles Smith faces, her fiancé is a same chairman he’s always been.

“Brandon has not changed, not one bit. He’s been a same Brandon given he found out his diagnosis. He’s been happy, he smiles,” a 29-year-old said. “That’s what’s certain about this.”

Altamirano — who played basketball when she attended Bayonne High School and who is now an partner basketball manager during a school — pronounced she and Smith initial met while in high school.

They fast connected over their passion for sports, a common seductiveness that has lasted to this day. The integrate skeleton to get married after this year.

Smith and Altamirano pronounced their families, a high propagandize and a village have all been really understanding of him.

A Bayonne High School alumni football diversion that will offer as a fundraiser for Smith’s medical losses and a ALS Association is scheduled for May 21 during 1 p.m. during Veterans Stadium.

According to the event’s Facebook page, scarcely 200 people are approaching to attend a fundraiser as of May 12. The opening price is $5, and there will be a 50/50, basket raffles, shirts, an ice bucket plea and a concession table.

Altamirano has also set adult an online concession website for Smith during that has lifted over $4,000.

“Anyone that knows Brandon would determine that he is a passionate, caring, and enlivening man. Brandon has shown so most adore to so many and has taught us never to give up, to always keep on pushing,” she wrote on a website.

Smith echoed that idea when he told The Jersey Journal he is a “fighter.”

“I’m going to quarrel this battle,” he said.

Jonathan Lin might be reached during Follow him on Twitter @jlin_jj. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

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