Ben Thomas (32) of St. George, Utah and his wife Jena shared a love of the outdoors. They were fond of activities like running, hiking, long bike rides and traveling to new places near and far.

In the spring of 2010, Ben noticed that his left leg wasn’t cooperating and spasms in his shoulders and upper arms followed soon after. He visited his family doctor and after numerous tests was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Creating memories to last a lifetime.

For Ben, having ALS meant that every moment spent with his wife, Jena, and 3-year-old daughter, Emmerson, was precious. He courageously faced his new reality head on. He had a disease that took him away from his young daughter much too soon, but rather than let that thought get him down – he created memories she could hold onto long after he’d gone. By writing a series of letters to his beloved daughter Emmerson, it allowed him to continue to be there for his daughter – for every milestone – even after he’d passed.

What is ALS?

According to als.org, it’s a neurodegenerative disease in which a person’s brain loses the connection with their muscles causing the eventual loss of their ability to walk, talk, eat and eventually breathe.