HOUSTON — It started as a twitch.
“I didn’t think much of it until it started keeping me up at night," Larry Bradley said.
A tingle in his arms.
“I will never forget the look on her face as she said, I'm sorry, you have ALS," Larry said.
Larry Bradley, father of two boys and husband of 23 years.
“You watch your loved one lose everything but their mind," his wife Sharon Bradley said.
It was the diagnosis no one saw coming.
“You wake up one day, and you’re twitching. And you find out you’re dying. It was shocking," Sharon said.
He's a husband turned hero to his wife, Sharon.
“I'm always going to give Larry Bradley credit," Sharon said. "We try to make every minute count, but he’s slowing losing himself. And he knows that. And that’s difficult. But look at that, so happy.”
Not for what he did before, but for what he’s done after.
“He knew going in, this wouldn’t save him.”
Larry was the first to do it, the first to volunteer for Houston Methodist's Dr. Stanley Appel’s study.
“From our perspective, cell based therapies are really the next stage," Houston Methodist Neurologist Dr. Stanley Appel said.
Dr. Appel’s immunotherapy takes dysfunctional regulatory T-cells from the patients, reverses them in a lab, and infuses them back into the patient, attempting to slow the disease.
“To see clinically, and physically, visually, you could tell, the progression slowed," Sharon said.
And it worked.
“Is it the way to cure the disease? No I don’t think so. But this is very much like one can think of the AIDS therapy," Dr. Appel said.
The hope, one day, is that the therapy will sustain life for ALS patients.
But it won’t for Larry.
“I also knew that if not for me, then maybe it can help others," Larry said.
The years have taken his body, robbed him of his words, but his purpose and their prayers will never fade.
“God doesn’t give you a gift like this, that you don’t fight every moment to keep him," Sharon said.
He’s her hero – and ours.