MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Coping with ALS is difficult for any patient, but especially so at a young age.
Aiden Strickland is a student at Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary. He is also one of only a few Juvenile ALS cases in the entire country.
His classmates are banding together to help him in a big way.
Juvenile ALS isn't just rare, it's virtually unheard of.
Doctors that treat Aiden Strickland tell the family they only know of four other families in the entire country that have cases of young people with Lou Gehrig's Disease.
What's also rare: finding a family that is still this optimistic despite everything they're going through.
Aiden is just like any other 9-year-old in the fact that he loves to play a good game of catch.
"You know, anybody would say, why me? Why is this happening to me? But those are fleeting moments. Most of the time, he's ready to play," said Aiden's father Tim Strickland.
Facing this news alone would crush just about anyone. Lucky for them, Aiden has an Army.
“The kids at school just love him to death and take good care of him. They fight over who gets to spend time with him at PE and lunch," says Strickland.
His classmates at Goldsmith Schiffman took it upon themselves to organize a fundraiser this weekend.
“They wanted to do a walk, all the kids had been asking, so they approached us with it and I said, if that’s what you want to do, that’s great with us," he says.
Proceeds will go towards getting a wheelchair that will fit a nine year old, growing like a weed.
"The emotional support is awesome," says Loretta Strickland.
Without a known cure for ALS, a lot of days may feel like there are more drops than catches.
"The hard part too is any clinical trials or experimental medication or anything like that that’s out there, they don’t let children in those programs," says Strickland.
Which make the good days as sweet as hitting a home run.
"He’s brought so many new people into our life," says Loretta.
"We were given this situation and we wouldn’t have it any other way," says Tim.
Aiden's ALS Army fundraiser is on Saturday, May 6th, from 10 am - 1pm.
The Strickland's say there will be a Popsicle truck, bean bag toss and maybe even a Nerf gun war.
Aiden's classmates will also do a walk around the track in his honor, all in an effort to buy Aiden a new wheelchair.