News & Stories

David Judd: Living Well with ALS

Updated 1/31/24

David’s ALS symptoms started gradually, as he noticed he lacked the dexterity to button his shirts and his balance became unsteady.  

What started out as small inconveniences grew into larger challenges. Many doctors’ appointments later, he sat in his neurologist’s office in 2019 and heard the dreaded words: You have ALS. 

The diagnosis didn’t stop David from giving back. While he shrewdly refers to himself as a “full-time ALS student,” he wants to pay it forward after receiving technical support for voice-banking as well as funds from the ALS Financial Assistance Program. He says, “ALS Northwest [has] supported me in so many ways,” further referencing the high-quality medical care he has received through our partnership with the Providence Brain & Spine Institute, among other ALS Centers. 

One way David gives back is by being an active presence at ALS support groups, listening and sharing with others. He says, “I try to do the best job I can to be of service to other people who have ALS and to help them through it.”    

Prior to his diagnosis, David enjoyed a rich and varied career in parks departments: first for the City of Portland, then as Park Director for the City of Vancouver from 2003 to 2008. His historic accomplishments are numerous and range from passing a measure to build 40 new parks, to facilitating the creation of the Firstenberg Community Center in East Vancouver, Washington. After returning to Portland in 2008, David continued his public service engagement as Vice Chair of the Board for Willamette Falls Trust.  

David now uses these years of experience to advise nonprofits like the Lan Su Chinese Garden, working with stakeholders to transform the venue into a wider-spread tourist attraction.   

Life isn’t over with ALS. Hobbies that once occupied your time take on new shapes. Although he can’t ride his bike anymore, he still gets coffee and pastries with his bike buddies every week. David has learned to appreciate time with his wife, children and grandchildren in a new way too.   

He says, “I still try and find joy in the simple things that I am able to see and do. Our job is to do the best we can to make the most of the time we have.”  

David’s story reminds us that no family is alone on this journey. We’re here for you!  

We featured David in our 2021 annual report.

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