To all friends and forum family, Robert 'Al' Pettit, after a period of illness in his last week, passed away the morning of May 31st, 2012 at 2:50 AM.
Al is survived by his wife Lee, daughter Tara, son Chris, and three beautiful grand kids. Al loved his family, his beautiful home in Orangeville and his friends, and pets, very much.
Al also loved his online community, the great people he was able to be friends with, and those that he was able to help guide through the troubled and cloudy waters that is this horrific disease.
Al was diagnosed as early as 2003 with ALS. Since then, Al fought tirelessly to support the ALS community, helping raise an extraordinary amount of money through the Walk for ALS for support and research, and dedicated tens of thousands of hours to supporting others through their personal battles with this disease here at the forum.
Myself, like you, is in a bit of shock and very saddened upon hearing the news of Al's passing. Not only will this website miss Al, but we will all certainly miss Al's presence, charm, wit, off-the-wall sense of humour and relentless commitment to helping others.
For those of you that are not aware, Al first joined the ALS Forums May 24, 2004. Al's last post was May 25, 2012. Between May 2004 and May 2012, during those 8 years, there was rarely a day go by that Al didn't spend time answering questions, helping new members, conversing with old members, and spending hours a day overseeing the website, forum and community in general.
Al first contacted me in 2006 when this forum was being shutdown by the ALS Society of Canada due to legal reasons. Al insisted that the forum must remain online and continue to help people. Al explained to me that the forum was helping him meet others when he was no longer able to drive and easily leave the house. Al felt, and rightfully so, that the forum, and himself, could continue to help people, and that if it was put offline, people would not be able to find a similar safe place to meet, communicate and share experiences.
Al and I worked together to move the forum, members and posts, and to ensure it remained online for the 400-500 members that the forum had at that time.
Due to Al's hard work and perseverance, this website has remained online for six long, dutiful and caring years while amassing over 10,000 members and 100,000 of helpful posts. This forum, while titled "ALS Forums", surely can be referred to as "AL's Forum".
Al's family and friends were most important to him, but following that, all of you, this website and this support community were always on the forefront of his mind, always being looked after, and always cared for.
The world, and especially the ALS community, is a much sadder place today. Today, a hole was created as it lost one of the bravest soldiers and most dedicated individuals it's ever had.
All the best Al, thank you, and we wish you all the best on your new adventures.