Throughout his lifetime Charlie Wedemeyer has been an inspiration to others. He played quarterback for the
Just a year later in 1978, Wedemeyer, at age 32, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, the debilitating disease that attacks motor neurons, slowly causing the person with ALS to lose his or her ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. At the time of his diagnosis, doctors said Wedemeyer would only live one to three more years – it’s been almost thirty.
Wedemeyer, now 59, is a testament to the phrase `life goes on.' His life didn't stop with the diagnosis or when faced with the effects of ALS. Through the help of his wife, Lucy, Wedemeyer continued his everyday activities, including both teaching and coaching. He taught math until 1981, and coached football until January 1986 in a golf cart on the sidelines, with Lucy by his side reading his lips to interpret plays and instruct players.
Wedemeyer is a great example of living life to its fullest, overcoming the odds and achieving great success. He passed those lessons on most recently to the Spartans as they prepared for play in the Silicon Valley Football Classic in 2001. With Lucy reading his lips, Charlie spoke to the players the day before the game about the importance of teamwork, and concluded by saying, "Never give up."
The Spartans didn't give up, defeating
Today, he can only move his eyes, eyebrows, lips and is on 24-hour-a-day life support. Through the years, Lucy gently and patiently loves and cares for him.