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Patient Stories:Brian Savo
My name is Brian Savo and I have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS. I was diagnosed with this debilitating, and ultimately deadly, disease in 2009 when I was in my early 30’s and my wife Maria was pregnant with our second child.
It was tough – I was like a deer caught in the headlights. I stepped back and took a breath, knowing I had to come up with a game plan. My primary care doctor recommended that I go to Hospital for Special Care (HSC)…and that’s where I met my new extended family.
When you are fighting ALS, a progressive neuromuscular disease that affects nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord, you think you are all alone. I learned very quickly that I was not alone, that I had the dedicated team at HSC’s ALS Clinic fighting for, and with, me. I cannot adequately express how important it is to have a team like HSC next to you as you lose your body, all while keeping your mind. The HSC clinical team is second to none, and they comprise the only ALS Certified Center of Excellence in Connecticut. Dr. Kevin Felice, a caring, compassionate beacon of light, leads by example in an otherwise dark time.
I am a lucky guy. My wife Maria and I have two beautiful children – Michael and Ariana. We have a thriving hardwood floor business. I can still drive.
This summer, I was blessed when I was asked to be the Honorary Co-Chair of the 2016 Travelers Championship. The tournament gave me a national platform to put a face on this horrible disease. It allowed me to not only tell my story, but tell the story of all of us who are a part of a group we would not otherwise choose to join. And tell the story I did – to anyone who would listen.
The Travelers Companies and Travelers Championship hosted ALS patients and their families during tournament week, providing a climate controlled, accessible and fully provisioned tent on the 18th green. The energy at the tent during tournament week was absolutely amazing. We laughed. We cried. But most of all, we celebrated the fact that we were neither alone nor forgotten. And the man with the passion to make this all happen was the late Jay Fishman, Travelers’ Executive Chairman of the Board. Like the team at HSC, when I met Jay in early 2016 he became part of my family as well. And he joined me and the HSC team every day at the tent during tournament week.
Jay and I did what we could during tournament week, and I’m still pushing ahead to do what I can, to keep my head high and let the ALS community know they are not alone.