By Stephanie Stahl


BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A story of hope and courage will be recognized this weekend with a special honor for a Bucks County surgeon who is sidelined with a devastating diagnosis. But he and his family have found a way to feel grateful.

ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is one of the most feared as it’s a slow, difficult death.

For patients and their families, it’s a race against time with American research being so slow, but the theme for this family is “broken-hearted but not broken.”

Bob Sinnott checks email with a voice-activated phone because the hands of this one-time surgeon don’t work anymore.

This is one of many crushing realities that come with ALS.

“The hardest part for me when I got diagnosed was telling my kids,” Sinnott said. “I’ve given people bad news a thousand times in my life about cancer diagnoses and different things but telling them was really hard.”

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Since he was diagnosed two years ago, his family in Bucks County has watched the progressive neurodegenerative disease slowly rob the doctor’s ability to move.

Sinnott is facing a slow, crippling death. There’s sadness and fear but that’s not all.

“I’m grateful for what I have and I think gratitude is a fuel,” his wife, Trish Sinnott, said.

“If you look at the blessing in your life every day, that’s what keeps me going,” Bob Sinnott said.

Family and friends have had a variety of events to fight ALS and support the Hope Foundation at Temple University.

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Because the currently approved FDA medications aren’t very effective, Sinnott is taking dozens of supplements and trying different therapies.

“I want to do everything I can to slow progression as long as I can to be as functional as I can,” he said.

That includes going to South Korea for stem cell treatments which they think have helped.

While there’s exciting U.S. research underway, it’s notoriously slow and time isn’t on their side.

“If I’m ever having a bad day, I just have to look at all the cards I’ve received from friends, family and patients. It just helps me get up and try to work as hard as I can,” Sinnott said.

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 He will be honored at the upcoming Gala of Hope for the ALS Hope Foundation at Temple University.

The foundation is doing ALS research and provides patient support.

For more information on the fourth annual Gala of Hope, click here.

Stephanie Stahl