Republican party chairman David Bitner has been diagnosed with ALS, often called Lou Gehrig's disease, a progressive and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease. With his wife Wendy at his side, the chairman this morning sounded as upbeat and energetic as ever.
"My wife and I are strong believers in God and our faith drives us," he said. "God has blessed me in being able to do what I'm doing."
Bitner said he will continue to serve as chairman for as long as possible, and that his doctor told him some ALS patients have been known to go 15 years without much change in their condition. Bitner has been using a motorized scooter for a couple months, but shows no sign respiratory problems.
Bitner was in Madison County last night for a Lincoln Day dinner, will be in Jacksonville Saturday for a Greatest Generation Event, and has and has an upcoming quarterly meeting in Orlando and RNC meeting in Dallas, and Okaloosa County Lincoln Day. "I'm not slowing down at all."
Bitner is participating in an experimental drug program, but noted that it's not a cure but an effort to learn more about ALS. His prognosis is uncertain, but his spirits are high.
"I know the greatest physician of all," he said. "That great physician could cure me tomorrow."