60 Minutes Transcript
This article submitted by MyotroMan on 3/5/99.
60 Minutes Transcript:
Choosing life; patients with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, tell of their love and passion for life,
even while their bodies continue to fail them
(Copyright (c) 1999 CBS, Inc. All rights reserved.)
MIKE WALLACE, co-host:
In 31 years on the air, we don't remember a story that has brought
as much controversy as the one we broadcast last November showing Dr.
Jack Kevorkian putting a man named Thomas Youk to death. Tom Youk
was suffering from ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a particularly
cruel disease. Patients can become completely paralyzed, but their
brains are not touched, so they become, in effect, prisoners in their
own bodies. Thirty thousand Americans have ALS and the disease
attacks different people differently. Some have more pain, some
more paralysis, some cannot talk, but it is always fatal.
After our report, many people with ALS let us know they still
enjoy productive lives, and they said, `Why don't you come meet us,
and see why we are choosing life and not death?' So we did.
(Footage of Dan Beacombe painting with the paintbrush in his
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Dan Beacombe became a painter after he got
ALS, even though his body, he says, acts like he's buried in sand up
to his neck. He is paralyzed and in pain, and you can hear him labor
to breathe through the tracheotomy in his throat.
Mr. DAN BEACOMBE: In fact, I was left-handed. I found out I'm
(Close-up of one of Beacombe's paintings)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Now I've seen some of the stuff. I mean,
really very, very delicate, very carefully put together.
Mr. BEACOMBE: There's a lot of mistakes in there, a lot of that,
though. You--you know, you make mistakes and you cover them up and
(Footage of Beacombe painting while his son, Sean, watches)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) In front of his son, Sean, Beacombe admitted
that years ago, when the disease began to cripple him, he had decided
to kill himself.
Mr. BEACOMBE: You reach a point where you start thinking you're