My husband, Patrick, met our friend, Tim Shaw, when they both became Tennessee Titans on the same exact day. Patrick had just been cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Tim had just been released from the Chicago Bears. Both men were Linebackers who were brought in by Tennessee to beef up the Titans Special Teams unit.
Less than 24 hours prior to the quick move to Nashville, Patrick had asked me to marry him. I worried about my new fiance as I said goodbye to him at the airport that morning, but when we chatted at night he assured me he was okay saying “I made a new friend today, his name is Tim.” I would come to hear a lot about Tim over the next few months. The two became fast friends off the field, roommates even, while on the road. On the field, they made quite the impactful pair! There are few photos we have of a tackle that Patrick made that Tim isn’t also in – whether in on the hit or congratulating after, Tim was just always nearby.
Patrick and Tim together put the “Special” in the Titans Special Teams 🙂 The two really helped to turn the struggling unit around for the Titans!
Though I visited Patrick in Nashville a few times that season, I didn’t meet Tim until Patrick and I’s wedding day. He was Patrick’s only Titan teammate who was able to make the trip into Pittsburgh for our special day. I know it meant a lot to Patrick having him there! One memory I have of him from that day is when our DJ played Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”, a song I had requested be played for Patrick, and it was literally the ONLY song that the dance floor was relatively clear for. I remember asking Tim to get Patrick out on the dance floor because I had this song played for him and he immediately did so. I smile at the memory of the two rocking out on their air guitars! That’s Tim for you, a good-time having, just plain and simple good guy who would do absolutely anything you ask of him!
Tim has blown me away numerous times in our friendship with him. From organizing volunteer opportunities, inviting us to church with him, to showing up at the hospital to visit us when our son, Beau, was born, Tim has always just been a good guy! A guy you don’t mind your husband bringing around…a guy you want to set your single girlfriends up with…a guy you want your son to grow up to be like…
He’s a good guy who doesn’t deserve his fate at hand, yet he’s never blown me away more than now, watching him fight for his life and inspire millions along the way.
In 2014, Tim was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that attacks the entire body while leaving the brain unscathed. I’ll never forget the day I learned this news. I was walking Radnor Lake when a friend questioned me about Tim’s diagnosis. Shock and disbelief filled me to my core. After a call to another friend, the fear that filled me was confirmed, the awful rumor was indeed true. My heart felt like it was the recipient of one of Tim and Patrick’s tag-team tackles, because I knew I now had to break this devastating news to Patrick. It was a difficult day for both of us.
I don’t think you truly believe a diagnosis like ALS to a man like Tim until you start to see it take it’s toll. Watching Tim’s large football player muscles start to disintegrate and hearing his always confident speech begin to slur — it’s heartbreaking. But the contradiction in Tim’s fight is that for a disease that robs you of your body and coordination and turns you into a klutz, for lack of a better word, Tim has handled his diagnosis and his fight with nothing but grace.
Tim recently documented his diagnosis, what he’s learned through it, and life in general, in a book called “Blitz Your Life”. Much like the man that Tim is, this isn’t a book about “him” — but rather about people he knows who have inspired him throughout his life. It is a must read, pick me up book that will give you a fresh perspective on life. You can easily purchase your copy from Amazon or pick it up at a nearby bookstore, but today I’m going to give away a copy to one of my readers 🙂 Just drop some words of encouragement for Tim to read in the comments section to be entered into a drawing for the book.
If you feel inclined to do so, please feel free to donate to the ALS Foundation to honor Tim and support his team, TShawstronG. While you’re on the site, please consider walking with us on September 23rd, 2017 if you are in the Nashville area!
I often wonder, “Why Tim? How is it that Patrick was spared? Why wasn’t it someone else?” The sad and hard truth is, I don’t think Patrick, or most other men for that matter, could handle this disease in the way that Tim can and does. The platform that he stands upon is far higher than the platform of his NFL career, and far greater than the platform he would have been upon had he become a successful NFL reporter post football as he had wished (Check out his online segment for the Titans called “T-Shaw’s Truth” where he showed fans inside the locker room and behind the scenes with the players!) Tim is changing the world for so many others through his demonstration of hope for a cure, and his will to fight this disease, all while praising the name of Jesus! This man is an inspiration to the world, bringing light to the darkness of this disease. When I think of Tim’s fight, I can’t help but think of Christ. Neither man deserved their fate, but both humbly accepted, and both changed the world in a positive way by doing so.
In closing I’d like to share a recent video that Tim posted of him sharing his truth…TShaw’s Truth.
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing