Even a year removed from his initial diagnosis of ALS, former Alabama running back Kerry Goode finds ways to keep positive.
Goode, a five-year back for Alabama from 1983-87, often does this by pranking people, as Alex Byington of DecaturDaily.com found out in his profile of the man.
Goode once caught his wife, Tanja, monitoring him in the kitchen while he made one of several protein shakes he drinks throughout the day — and promptly collapsed. When she rushed over to help him from the floor, she saw him grinning up at her, saying, “Quit staring at me.”
It is moments like these that keep Goode in good spirits, though he is acutely aware of what the neurodegenerative disease has cost him. Goode, who once showed flashes of brilliance on both the college and pro levels, now extends considerable effort just to get out of bed at times.
“Some mornings, I cannot for the life of me get (out of bed),” Goode said. “That’s a struggle because your body just doesn’t allow you to get up. I have to roll out of bed because all my stomach and back muscles are weak right now.”
But he refuses to let his life be controlled by the disease; sometimes he’ll even sneak out into the backyard to mow the lawn, often against his wife’s wishes.
Now, Goode serves as an ambassador to raise money for a cure of the same disease that took the life of former Tide fullback Kevin Turner at the age of 46.
Goode has joined online discussions of patients and families of patients to discuss his outlook on life with the disease, which has a life expectancy of two to five years from diagnosis. And since May is ALS awareness month, Goode has gone to numerous fundraisers to help raise money for a cure.
“It’s kind of weird … you’re going through (the process) to help fundraise, find a cure, then you never know that the life you’re trying save is your very own,” Goode said. “It never dawned on me that I might be the next guy up for this thing.”
One of those events was hosted by Goode’s alma mater and was even attended by current Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has supported Goode throughout the process.
“This is one of the (causes) that we want to try to be an advocate of so that maybe someone in the future can benefit,” Saban said. “And I’m sure that’s what Kerry’s goal and purpose is in bringing awareness in this so that maybe we can make progress in the future.”
Goode will continue his fundraising efforts on Monday night at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Ala. It will be hosted by the Goode Foundation, and will feature numerous Alabama legends such as Cornelius Bennett, Bill Curry and Ray Perkins.
“If this is to be my swan song, I want to go out with those guys and say thank you to all them,” Goode said. “We’ll always be tied together.”