Two years ago, Andy Murphy volunteered at his children's school and worked at an office in Cincinnati. He was a regular dad.  After experiencing slurred speech and difficulty swallowing, he saw specialists for months, looking for answers. The day after Christmas, 2019 Andy received the shocking diagnosis of ALS.
 ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, according to als.org. The lifespan of patients with ALS is two to five years. During the disease progression, patients lose their ability to walk, speak and breathe.
 Andy and his wife, Brooke (Meier) Murphy, have two children and live in Batesville. Both children attend St. Louis School. To help the family with medical expenses, the St. Louis PTO is hosting two food trucks in the school parking lot on June 11. The trucks are Lindsey's Shave Ice and Fabulous Funnel Cakes and More. Both trucks will contribute a portion of their profits to the family. The trucks coincide with the first day of the St. Louis School Rummage Sale.
 If you would like to support the family, contributions may be made at FCN Bank branches to the Benefit Fund for the Andy Murphy Family or through the Help Andy Murphy On His ALS Journey page at gofundme.com.
 Andy and Brooke have been open about their experience with ALS through Facebook. During the month of May, they posted regularly to educate the community.
 Just getting to bed has had its difficulties. All of the bedrooms in their home are on the second floor. 
 “Stairs have become increasingly difficult, requiring a lot of effort, as well as dangerous to do, solo,” Brooke posted on her account. “Plan b for now is to put a hospital bed in our family room. This is 1 step down instead of 13 steps up.”
 The family is building a home outside Oldenburg on family ground from Brooke's grandparents. They recognize current escalated building costs but need a more accessible home for Andy. 
 On May 25, Andy attended his son's end of year preschool celebration in a power wheelchair. That same day, Brooke posted to her Facebook account the realities of the chair.

 “This 34,000+ wheelchair is fitted specifically for Andy from the measurements taken from Andy,” she said. “…Since fine motor skills have diminished in his hands they will include a goal post shaped joystick he can rest his hand in to maneuver. It will also have assistant controls on the back meaning I can drive it from behind.”
 On May 30, Brooke posted the realities of transporting the chair required a new van. The family recently purchased a side entry van. “Andy's wheelchair can hook onto the passenger side so he is still up front with me,” she said. 
Andy recently posted about the challenges of working with his illness. “When I start my work day I need help from Brooke or one of the kids,” the Cincinnati Children's compensation consultant wrote. “I do not have the flexibility in my arms to type at a desk, so I work with the laptop on my lap. Which leads to another problem, I don't have the strength to lift my laptop. Starting and any time I take a break, I need help.”
 Andy ended the post by announcing he will work his last day June 5. “It will not be an easy step. But it is necessary,” he wrote.
 The Murphy's recently celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. They have used social media to further educate their community about the illness. 
 “Imagine you're sitting, you need to get up without the use of your arms,” Brooke posted on May 8. Because of trunk and arm/hand weakness, when using the restroom, you can't wear anything with buttons and zippers, the weight of clothing is too much to adjust on your own. If you need to sit, you can't wipe or get up without help. Your arms can't reach up to your hair to wash it, you have the sue of one hand to try to hold a bar of soap. When you finish your shower, the heaviness of the towel is too difficult to hold, much less physically dry yourself.”
 Consuming nutrition is a large part of Andy's day. He has a feeding tube because drinking and eating is taxing. According to a May 6 post, the cost of his nutrition and syringes is more than $800 per month.
 Sleeping is costly too. Andy has bulbar onset ALS. As a result, his diaphragm muscles are weak. He sleeps with extra pillows and a wedge type pillow. According to a recent post by Brooke, Andy uses a non-invasive ventilator at night. “It performs the act of breathing for him so he can be more rested. It's similar to a cpap that those with sleep apnea wear, as in it requires distilled water and continuously has air going to the patient. The thing that makes this different, is that in addition to the air it's giving Andy, it also takes it back out.” Brooke said the device is rented monthly, for $1500.
   Andy has attempted to enter two clinical trials but did not meet the criteria. The couple is actively encouraging friends and family to encourage their legislators to approve Act for ALS. A template to contact legislators may be found for iamals.org. The act would allow access to experimental treatment for ALS patients.
  Andy Murphy never knows the challenges he will face when the sun rises but he meets each day with the mindset to live fully and well.