Local triathlete diagnosed with ALS now raises awareness about the disease

Posted at 5:12 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 18:54:04-04

Tom Paquette is always thinking about his next race. "It's been a great part of my life."

The next one will be at Carlin Park in Jupiter. "Can't beat it," says Paquette.

At the age of 58 Tom started doing triathlons. "15 years of great life."

Tom won't admit this himself, but was pretty good. In fact, in 2013, he was ranked 21st nationally for his age group.

He was also a top 100 triathlete in Florida.

However, that all changed last summer at the age of 74.

"I was devastated, I was depressed, I was like why me?"

Tom was unexpectedly diagnosed with ALS and it completely changed his life.

But today he says, "I've accepted it and I live one day at at time. So today is a good day."

He still trains and will be participating in his first race since his diagnosis, The Turtleman Triathlon.

His goal? To spread awareness of ALS. To fight for a cure. "I'm going to be in front of quite a few people and hopefully they can see it and they can understand what it is," says Paquette.

At the event this Sunday, Tom will be able to bike, but can't run or swim. He has friends who will help him with a raft and push him in a wheelchair.

This could be Tom's last triathlon. However he says he will keep going and keep training because that's what Tom Paquette is all about. He won't get down on himself.

He also quotes the late Lou Gherig. "He says I'm the luckiest man on the face of the Earth and I feel like that today."


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