Chris Pendergast, Who Fought A.L.S. Mile After Mile, Dies at 71

Along with his spouse, Christine (Martin) Pendergast, a previous president of the Port Jefferson Station Lecturers Affiliation on Lengthy Island, he’s survived by a son, Christopher, who is named Buddy; a daughter, Melissa Scriven; and a grandson.Mr. Pendergast and his spouse chronicled the household’s collaborative effort to confront A.L.S. in a guide, “Blink Spoken Right here: Tales From a Journey to Inside,” which was revealed this yr. The title comes from the eye-tracker laptop that makes use of infrared mild to substitute for oral speech when sufferers lose their voice.After retiring from educating in 2003, Mr. Pendergast typically made public appearances, together with a go to to Northport Excessive College final February, to extol the ability of perseverance when confronting adversity.In 2005, when he spoke to elementary college students at a faculty on East 103rd Avenue in Manhattan, throughout from Gehrig’s birthplace, “you could possibly hear a pin drop,” Christine Pendergast mentioned.Gehrig, Mr. Pendergast advised The Occasions in 2009, “taught me that the human spirit can transcend any affliction. I’m now a quadriplegic, utilizing a feeding tube and an exterior ventilator for a part of the day. However with Lou as a mannequin, I nonetheless really feel I’ve an terrible lot to reside for.”Within the foreword to the Pendergasts’ guide, Jonathan Eig, the writer of “Luckiest Man: The Life and Loss of life of Lou Gehrig” (2005), writes, “Chris exhibits he’s a worthy inheritor to the Lou Gehrig line.”Echoing Gehrig, Mr. Pendergast insisted that he was fortunate in his personal method.“There’s little doubt that being concerned actively in preventing the illness on this type is life-lengthening,” he mentioned in 2005. “We are able to’t bear chemotherapy or invasive forms of surgical procedures to permit us to battle again towards the illness, so we’ve a selection of laying down and doing nothing and permitting the illness to steamroll proper over us, or to battle again with spirit and get entangled.”“That’s our solely drugs,” he added.

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