Racing team member fights ALS battle
Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - A member of the racing community is coping with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. He is adjusting his role as his illness progresses.
When Graham Rahal came in for a pit stop at the Kentucky Speedway in September, it was Carey Hall manning the fuel. A month later when driver Sarah Fisher replaced her traditional yellow colors for bright pink at the Homestead race, it was Carey Hall in charge of the paint job.
"He's been a lifetime member of Sarah Fisher Racing but a longtime friend of our family," said Fisher.
The 41-year-old from Greenwood known his strong work ethic and speedy work has no vote in slowing down. He was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gherig's disease in January.
"I was fine in December," he said.
Every month, the changes are measurable.
"When you can't understand somebody and when you see the muscle mass go in his arms and his hands it seems like its very quick. This is happening too quick," said Carla Hall, Carey's wife.
"I don't get mad. Frustrated, but getting mad that doesn't solve anything," he said.
Carey still works every day but no longer fuels.
"It's been hard for all of us at Sarah Fisher Racing to see Carey going through this," said Fisher.
Every four months he goes to the ALS Clinic at Wishard headed up by Dr. Bob Pascuzzi.
"It's just the motor system that controls muscle strength and function. That system is the primary problem in this disease and it just gets gradually worse over the course of years. Most patients run a course of two to five years and what typically limits their survival to two to five years is breathing," said Dr. Pascuzzi.
The Halls of Greenwood have three boys - ages 20, 11 and six.
"What really resonates and hits home with me is when my 11-year-old is discouraged about Christmas because he equates that with a few months and that he won't be able to understand his dad anymore," said Carla.
The couple is looking into technology that will help Carey communicate as the disease progresses, even recording his voice so they don't forget.
"I don't get mad. I keep going," he said.
Carey is staying positive and shares his story now to increase awareness of ALS and Lou Gehrig's disease.