Bristol inspirational speaker writes book about Lou Gehrig's disease awareness

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 29, 2013 at 8:39 PM

A little more than two years since his diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease, well-known Bristol marketing executive and inspirational speaker Phil Timp is losing his ability to speak.

Timp does not expect to live much longer, but has published an autobiography to carry on his work for ALS awareness and to encourage everyone to try to live each day to its most, especially when their circumstances become overwhelming.

Proceeds from the sale of the book are going to the New York Main Street Project, an ALS support foundation that helps ALS patients and their families with the cost of their care, including Timp and his family.

“I want people to know when overwhelming mountains face you in life, you can take them on. You can even move them,” he said.

“There were countless moments in my life where the most menacing clouds tried to overwhelm me. In losing my brother. In losing my father. And in having a daughter with severe disabilities and then having to take on Lou Gehrig’s disease at a time when my professional and volunteer careers were peaking.

“I have handled all of this with a very positive and strong perspective on living at 110 percent.”

Timp’s book is autobiographical and has received some very good reviews including the following from bestselling author Adriana Trigiani of Big Stone Gap, Va.:

“Get ready to savor one of the most powerful autobiographies I have ever read. It’s all here: love, faith, family and the abiding power of hope in the face of disappointment and loss. If you needed a primer to guide you through the travails of life, only to look up and find the silver linings, this is the only book you need ever read on the subject.

“Phillip is an amazing writer, speaker and rabble rouser. He brings his unvarnished and honest self fully to these pages, but with a sense of humor and just enough grace notes to assure you that he is listening to a higher power and gaining strength in the process.”

The Main Street Project underwrote the book’s printing and has designated 85 percent of its proceeds to help Timp’s family and the remaining 15 percent to assist other ALS patients.

“It’s such an expensive disease, it depletes families,” Timp’s wife, Cindy, said. “Project Main Street helps them with whatever they may need and they have designated proceeds from the book to help us.”

Timp, meanwhile, has devoted the past two years to raising funds to help the ALS Association provide support for the research.

Last year his Team Timp ALS Walk team raised $40,000, making them the ALS Association’s No. 1 fundraising team in Tennessee.

Together with proceeds from his speaking engagements, the sale of his inspirational CD “Silver Linings,” the 2012 and 2013 Bill Gatton Honda Memorial 5K and other various fundraising endeavors, Timp and his supporters have raised more than $120,000 over the past two years for the ALS Association, the ALS Center at Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta and Service Dogs of Virginia, which matched him with his faithful friend and assistant, Nelson.

“It has been a busy two years,” Cindy said. “It’s slowing down a little bit. The disease is taking its toll. His diaphragm is being impacted more rapidly than we wanted and we embrace each day.”

If his condition allows, the couple will be at the 2013 Tri-Cities ALS Walk coming up Oct. 12 at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport. Their daughter, Katie, is the Team Timp walk team captain this year. And they are encouraging everyone to donate to the ALS Association in Phil’s name online at webtn.alsa.org.

“We have to at least find a treatment, if not a cure,” he said.

“I can’t move either of my legs or my right arm. I can no longer eat. I have a feeding tube. My left arm is starting to weaken considerably. But the diaphragm, that’s No. 1. That’s what is taking me.

“I have not focused on ALS as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Instead I have focused on ALS as ‘Always Looking Skyward.’ I have this eternity that’s within my grasp. Always looking skyward is what ALS means to me.”

At 282 pages, “Moments That Took My Breath Away” may be purchased from Team Timp for a $10 or ordered at Amazon.com, in paperback for $5.76, or $5 for e-readers.

Autographed copies may be obtained from Team Timp stamped with the readers’ choice of any or all three of Timp’s favorite lines of encouragement: “Climb Mountains, Move Mountains,” “Focus on the Silver Lining” or his and Cindy’s personal motto through everything, “Courage, Serenity, Hope and Love.”

More information about Team Timp’s efforts, including details on each of its fundraising events, can be found online at www.teamtimp.org. More information about the ALS Association and its work for a cure and for patient care is available at alstn.org.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos