- ABOUT THE CIRCLE
- WHAT IS ALS
- REQUEST HELP
- PALS we’re helping
- PALS We’ve Helped
- Past Fundraiser Info
(February 2012) My name is Kurt Thieleman and I recently turned 45 years old. In 1999, I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) at the age of 32. I would like to give brief overview of my life before being diagnosed, describe our familys present situation and how the Sehorn Foundation has been an absolute godsend.
I was raised in a small country town outside Ft. Worth. Shortly after graduating with a degree in manufacturing engineering, I moved to Houston, in 1993, to pursue a career as an engineer for a company called Bowen Oil Tools. After Bowen, I was employed by FMC Technologies Inc. for 8 1/2 years until ALS struck. FMC supported my endeavor to get my masters in business however that was cut short midway thru due to illness. I continued to work from home until 2005 due to the graciousness and generosity of my coworkers. As my care got more extensive my wife and adopted daughter left and went on their own way placing a tremendous burden on my immediate family. A month later, I was put on a ventilator which requires around the clock in-home care.
Being a caretaker is a lot harder than actually having ALS. It is a terribly hard task that requires a great deal of patience and love. I admire the Sehorn Foundation for focusing on the caregiver because they don’t receive the credit that is well-deserved, but get the blunt of the blame when tragedy occurs. When told I had ALS, I refused to think it would make me succumb to its effects. Unfortunately, it gently paralyzes and erodes the muscle tissue day after day. I participated in 3 experimental drug studies, under Dr. Stanley Appel and Dr. Erika Simpson, that ultimately showed no usefulness in curing or inhibiting ALS. Both practice at Methodist hospital.
My brother (Wade Thieleman) moved from Kingwood into my place to help me, but his time is extremely limited. He is a mechanic for United / Continental Airlines
and works the graveyard shift from 8pm – 7am. He sleeps during the day. My mother (Nancy Thieleman) resigned from her job and moved to Houston to take care of me. Her dedication to me is unsurpassed, however 24/7 care leaves her entrapped within our residence. I’ve become so reliant and dependent on her that the walls gradually close in on us and she is never able to leave the house or have time to herself. Neither of us planned it this way it slowly happens. She’s uable to get groceries, run errands, receive some much needed leisure time, etc. The Sehorn Foundation enables mom to have 6-8 hours of freedom which is treasured! Every Tuesday, an aid arrives at 10am and takes care of me while mom utilizes her time away. Our Tuesdays are much appreciated and cherished.
A foundation is only as good as the people running them. Patricia Sehorn, Sherry Dolejsi and Chris Sehorn are absolutely dedicated to making a difference with their foundation. ALS brings a lot of different people in your life. Some are working relationships and some are genuine friendships that would be sustained beyond ALS. We feel the later about Patricia, Sherry & Chris because they are good people. We want to thank the Sehorn Foundation and everyone that donates. We are truly grateful.
Nancy, Wade & Kurt Thieleman
Update from Dennis Sehorn Foundation:
January 18, 2013: Kurt’s courageous battle with ALS ended today. We are so very grateful that we got to know you and your family. Your mother, Nancy, and brother, Wade, are walking angels – their devotion to your care for nearly 15 years shows the great love that they have for you. Your extended family also greeted us with open arms and hearts. Thank you for letting us into your lives and allowing us to assist you and your family. It has been a true honor to meet and help a family like yours. We will miss sharing movie nights with you and your mom. We will continue to raise ALS awareness and help as many PALS as we can assist, always keeping you close in our minds and hearts.