LAKEVILLE, Minn. – A Lakeville man with months to live gets a surprise of a lifetime from a person who knows exactly what he’s going through.
There are people who talk about a bucket list and those who live it; Greg Gelhorn is the latter.
“Greg's vacations aren't vacations, they are adventures,” said Derek Fessler, Greg’s brother-in-law.
He’s been all over the world with his wife, Amy, and two children, Sam, 18, and Sydney, 16.
Then in 2016, Greg struggled to recover after finishing the Twin Cities Marathon.
Shortly after he couldn’t jump during his routine basketball games.
Doctors initially thought it might be a pinched nerve, according to family.
But in May last year, it was confirmed that Greg has ALS—a terminal disease with no cure that leaves the brain alert and functioning while the body slowly shuts down.
“When I first found out, I thought he'd be around for a lot longer than it's seeming right now,” said Sydney Gelhorn, Greg’s daughter.
Greg was first given two to five years to live, now, doctors give him months, maybe weeks, according to family.
“As your life is getting short, you think, what kind of things have I never done?” said Greg.
Fessler wanted to help, in any way.
He says he was inspired by the films “My Life” starring Michael Keaton and “Gleason”, the life-story of former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason—who also suffers from ALS (his charity, Team Gleason, was behind the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral three years ago).
So he decided to interview Greg, one-on-one, offering seven hours of tape and his life story as a gift to the kids.
“I wanted to be able to archive his life for his kids,” said Fessler.
But Fessler had another gift for Greg. This one came from Steve Gleason and his wife.
About 50 family, friends and neighbors surprised Greg at his home and popped on a video tape. It was a message from Gleason.
“We’d like to send you and your family to the Super Bowl,” said Gleason through a computerized voice on the video.
“It’s not a typical Wednesday night,” said Sam Gelhorn, Greg’s son. “If today is even Wednesday.”
Team Gleason not only gave the Gelhorns four tickets to the game, but VIP, on-field pregame passes to meet the celebrities and players.
It’s another adventure for Greg, and yet another lesson for his children.
“I keep telling my kids, look what people are doing, make sure that when somebody is in need you help them out in any way you can,” said Greg.