Published in the South Jeff Journal, May 2015

By Heather Berry

It was my honor to meet with Randy Nichols and his wife of 42 years, Cindy, this week. Randy was diagnosed with ALS two years ago with his symptoms surfacing about four years ago. In the last year, he lost the ability to walk. His muscle control with this arms and hands is now limited. His story is the topic of a feature story in this week’s Journal.

When originally approached Cindy about writing a feature story, I could see the idea wasn’t terribly exciting to her. I learned, in the following interview, how both Randy and Cindy are individuals who don’t care for asking for help. In their eyes, everyone has problems and their problems shouldn’t be in the spotlight.

What hasn’t seemed to occur to the two of them, is the gift they are giving others when they share their story. These two have quietly been pressing on in the face of some enormous obstacles. With the help of family and friends, this small group has dealt with the day-to-day issues that surface when facing a disease like ALS.

Here’s the part where Heather opens her big mouth.

Many people in this community are unaware of Randy’s situation. Why? Because Randy and Cindy don’t advertise their challenges. They quietly move forward with the cards they’ve been dealt.

Randy and Cindy Nichols could use some help with some specific things. They need some adjustments made to the front door to allow for Randy’s chair to move in and out easily when he is trying to maneuver it alone. They need a suitable bathtub. Cindy and her family need some help from individuals who understand and are trained to care for ALS patients so she can get a break. A van for transporting Randy is a dire need. The need some of the financial pressure lifted so they can pay their bills without worrying.

Up to know the family, their church, friends and organizations like the South Jeff Rescue Squad have come to the family’s aid.

I’m sure there are many things which the two of them wouldn’t even consider asking for and may not even realize are available.

On Saturday morning, I was griping because my Keurig coffee machine is leaking. It’s like a year old. Leaks like a fountain. Each time I go to make a cup of coffee, I find a puddle on the counter. Really ticks me off. Stupid machine.

Everyone has challenges. No one gets out of this life alive.

My leaking Keurig was my immediate challenge Saturday morning. I have my health. My daughters are healthy. We have food to eat, a nice place to live, new friends in our new state. The sun was shining. It was beautiful day. A great dog.

I headed over to visit with Randy and Cindy.

Sometimes, the messengers of life’s greatest lessons are completely and utterly unaware of what they have to offer in terms of wisdom and inspiration.

As we sat on the Nichols’ front porch on Spring Street on a beautiful day, Randy and Cindy continued to tell me how they didn’t want to focus on the negative. They were, obviously, uncomfortable discussing what they needed.

Just because you could use a little help, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer back. What Randy and Cindy have to offer back is worth more than any gold in the kingdom. They offer the example of true love, loyalty beyond measure, lessons in perseverance, hope, faith, beauty and strength. Remind them of this fact when they assure you, ‘It’s OK. We are fine. We will get through.’