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Official media sponsor of WJZ
Official media sponsor of WJZ

Meet the People #FightingALS
with the Brigance Brigade Foundation

Corey and Jennifer Polen

“I graduated from Ball State University in 2001 and married my college sweetheart, [Jennifer]. We built a home in Brownsburg, [Indiana] in 2001. I am so blessed to have Jennifer in my life. We have three amazing children. I love being a husband, father, and uncle. I have always been active; I enjoy working out, swimming, hiking and coaching. At 40, I was in the best shape of my life. Then it all changed.

In October 2015, Jennifer and I were hiking through the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. I noticed that my right ankle started to roll on some of the slightest of angles. I found that odd because I was being extra careful not to get hurt in such an isolated location. It happened at least a dozen times. I brushed it off. As a family, we continued to enjoy the rest of our time in New River, AZ.

A couple weeks later while walking to work In downtown Indianapolis, I noticed my right calf getting tight and causing some burning sensation. Over the next couple weeks it progressed to a foot drop. From there I finally, sought some medical guidance. At first, l was told that I had a compressed nerve behind my right knee. It would heal on Its own over 18 months. Not too concerned, I was happy to have an explanation.

In February of 2016, l began noticing more weakness in my other leg. I also started getting short of breath when walking around the half mile mark. So I sought out a 2nd opinion. I was told the life changing news. He suspected that I have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Let me tell you this, I hope none of you ever have to go
through it, but there is nothing worse than telling your spouse and children such horrific news. As a father, my responsibility is to protect and provide for my family. This disease steals that from me.

[My BBF PALS Grant award provides] assistance with payments for VOCSN [a medical device that combines a ventilator, oxygen concentrator, cough assist, suction, and nebulizer]. Asking
for help has never been an option in our mind. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we have always been proud for being so independent. A trait we want to pass on to our children. Throughout the last year and a half of this disease though,

realization has set in that each day has become more of a challenge than the day prior. The sad part, the disability is just beginning, and the rest will be extremely costly.”