Barnard, 69, received not one, but two letters this month, supporting his goal of ending ALS and finding a cure for the disease that’s killing this Norwalk man who lives at The Willows at Willard nursing home under Stein Hospice care. The first of the letters came from Hillary Clinton.
“I heard about your brave fight with ALS and wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those cheering you on,” she wrote in her letter. “While I can only imagine how difficult battling your illness has been, I am heartened to know that you are receiving the care you need and that you are surrounded by the love of family and friends.
“I am grateful for your commitment to fighting for an end to ALS,” she added.
“My conversations with leading researchers over the past years have persuaded me that with the will, the right resources and the right leadership, we can combat the full range of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS. Thank you for your leadership and your strength.”
Perhaps “the right resources” can help to be achieved by the source of the second letter Barnard received — the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians, who have sponsored the signature event “Strike Out ALS” for 18 years, regretted they were unable to send any players to Barnard at the time. However, the reigning American League champs sent him his own personalized jersey, complete with his last name and No. 1 on the back, along with a 2016 World Series patch on the left sleeve.
“That’s really nice because you cannot buy it. You can’t buy anything with this logo on it,” he said.
But that wasn’t all.
“I’m going to get eight box office seats too, to any (April) game I want to go to,” Barnard said.
“The Cleveland Organization called me the other day. I’ve been asked to sell tickets for their one game they have every year (the Strike Out ALS event) and every ticket I sell, every penny goes to ALS research. I hope all the people on my Facebook page will want to buy tickets. I know I can sell a lot of tickets. If you read the letter from the Indians, they’ve been doing this for 18 years. They asked me to help sell the tickets.”
Barnard said he was honored to receive Clinton’s letter, but had to admit, being a true sports fan, he enjoyed the other letter better.
“I was more excited for the Indians,” Barnard said. “These letters are going to make my dreams come true.”
Anyone looking for updates on Barnard or information to purchase the Strike Out ALS tickets can visit the Bruce Barnard Facebook page.
In mid-November, several media outlets shared the story of Barnard’s dying wish — to meet with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to kick start a campaign that would raise funds to find a cure for the disease that’s killing him. Barnard hoped to create an annual fundraising campaign involving Cleveland’s three major sports teams, James sprear-heading the effort.
While the Cavaliers did offer Barnard four tickets to a game and fundraiser materials, such as tickets and merchandise, the team stated it does not handle any request regarding LeBron James. All such requests are dealt with through the LeBron James Family Foundation. Bernard expressed bitterness and sorrow when it appeared his dream wouldn’t materialize.