LIVERPOOL, NY (WSYR-TV) - In May of 2010, a now retired Marine from Clay was shot and wounded in Afghanistan. A year later, Lance Corporal Kyle Francis was diagnosed with ALS.
On Sunday, friends held a benefit in Liverpool to help pay for the 24-year-old’s medical expenses.“I'm looking to remain as independent as I can, but we'll see. We'll see what tomorrow brings,” said Francis.
In Afghanistan, Francis was shot three times in his hand and legs during a Taliban ambush. But after 27 surgeries, he didn’t seem to be getting much better.“We could tell that there was a difference in the way he walked, in the way he held things and we could see that there was something wrong,” said Francis’ father Lamar Williams.A year and a half after being shot, Kyle was diagnosed with ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is an incurable, fatal, neuromuscular disease that will make Kyle's muscles weaker over time. The fundraiser on Sunday will benefit his family, including his parents and three younger siblings, who will have to take care of Francis for the rest of his life.“So that we can take time off from work to be home with him and to just give him everything he needs and it will allow us to let him have the dignity that he so deserves,” said Francis’ mother Lisa Williams.When Francis joined the Marines he was asked to work in intelligence. Instead, he requested to be a rifleman.“I wanted to do the toughest thing possible. I needed to discipline myself and I had a lot of growing up to do and I knew being a member of the infantry would do that,” said Francis.Even now he said he would not change his decision.“I don't have any regrets or any sorrows. I'm just trying to live life one day at a time,” said Francis.The theme of the fundraiser was “Be a Hero for a Hero.” Held on Veterans Day, Francis wanted everyone to remember all of our nation’s heroes. “To all the vets out there before, during and after me, thank you and happy Veterans Day.”
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