BANGOR, MAINE (WABI) It is with heavy hearts that we bring you this next story.
Jim Kingsbury, a Bangor man battling ALS and the focus of several stories here at TV 5, has died.
The 55-year old passed away Friday at a hospital in Biddeford.
Joy Hollowell brings us the final chapter in a dying man's mission to save others.
"Hi, my name is Jim Kingsbury and I'm 45 years old. Recently I've been going through a little health issue."
That health issue was ALS. At that time, Jim knew two things about the neuromuscular disease. there was no cure, and it was fatal.
In May of 2009, Jim invited TV 5 to start chronicaling his battle with the disease. He, his wife Lisa and their son Jack gave viewers a very personal look at the effects of ALS, both on the patient as well as family members.
At that time, Jim told us that "it was getting harder. Talking is very labored now...I can't lift my arms."
Jim lost use of his ARMS AND legs. Eventually, he went on life support. The Kingsburys' living room turned into a hospital, with Lisa getting a crash course in how to care for her husband.
"I don't know if I was being naive or what, but this was a lot more than what I anticipated," said Lisa Kingsbury at that time.
Through it all, Jim remained upbeat. He learned how to use a computerized voice box to communicate and did his best to keep a sense of humor.
There were times when having the television camera there was too much for Lisa, but then Jim reminded her why they were doing this.
"I want people to see what this disease does," Jim told us, speaking through his voice box.
In the summer of 2011, the Kingsburys made the very difficult decision to move Jim to a nursing home. They could only find one in the state that could meet all of Jim's needs, all the way down in Biddeford.
Facebook and Twitter would keep the family connected when Lisa and Jack couldn't make the trip down. it would also keep Jim in touch with the world. He was well aware that ALS would eventually take away his eye movement. When that happened, Jim had a plan.
"Without being able to communicate, it would be hard to imagine prolonging this," said Jim at that time.
As difficult as it was, Lisa was also on board with Jim's decision.
"We've said our goodbyes because we know in all likelihood, I probably won't be here when it happens," said Lisa.
Jim Kingsbury managed to beat the odds of two to five years from diagnosis. But he never dwelled on those numbers. He also never got angry over the disease, saying life was just too short to waste such energy. Jim's motto was simple but inspiring.
"I can't worry about tomorrow," he told TV 5 in 2009.
"We've got to get through today," added his wife.
"Exactly," said Jim. "I'm going to wake up the next day and say- Alright, here we go again."
Jim Kingsbury was one of the original founders of The Walk to End ALS in Bangor. He also travelled to Washington, D.C. numerous times to advocate for ALS patients.
A funeral service will take place this Saturday in Dexter.
Condolences and memories can be left at http://laryfuneralhome.com/