ALS Forces Young Man Into Early Retirement — Check Out His Powerful Message That Might Change Your Perspective on Life
“The world is magic, it’s up to you to find it.”
How would you change your day-to-day approach if you knew what the future had in store for you? Would you be more optimistic? Would you appreciate the little things more?
Because a young man named Joey Porrello is asking. He wants you to appreciate your independence and embrace the beauty in the ordinary — and with good reason.
Porrello retired from his Civil Engineer job at Kimley-Horn, a Las Vegas-based planning and design consulting firm, in early February. Whereas retiring at 29 years old might seem like the dream, that’s not the case for Porrello.
Only a year prior, Porrello was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. His ALS had rapidly progressed to a point where he was no longer able to continue working in the capacity he wanted.
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In a viral and courageous LinkedIn post, Porrello emphasized that his muscles began to deteriorate as “more motor neurons continue to die.” The civil engineer said it became harder to “talk clearly” and to move his arms and fingers.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rare neurological disease that affects motor neurons—”those nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement,” says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH). The diseases specifically target voluntary muscles — those we use to produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking. The disease is progressive, meaning symptoms get worse over time. ALS has no cure and there is no effective treatment to reverse its progression.
Now that’s been forced to retire, Porrello intends to raise awareness about the disease which affects about five people per 100,000 in the US population.
The 29-Year-Old’s Powerfully Motivating Message That’s Impacting Social Media
In his motivational LinkedIn post that has since garnered more than 100,000 likes, Porrello says your natural response to his diagnosis might be along the lines of “I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if that was me – being forced to retire so young because my body is malfunctioning to the point that simple tasks are impossible and total paralysis is inevitable.” Well, he says, “I’m going to ask you to. Seriously, take a minute right now.”
“How would you change what you’re doing every day if you knew this was your fate?” he asks. “I hope you’d be kinder, to others and yourself.”
He asks people to keep “the important things in focus” and to “be a reason for others’ joy.” Mostly, he’s asking people to “embrace the beauty in the ordinary” and highlights how your “perspective and attitude might shift for the better,” by doing so.
In a powerful closing line to his post, he says, “what I would give for just another ‘boring’ day.”
In a phone call with Goalcast, Porrello — who was diagnosed with ALS in May 2022 — says he’s been given a “bad situation but wants to find the good in it.”
“I hope that by sharing my story, people will have an opportunity to appreciate what they have,” he tells Goalcast.
Porrello is now transitioning into “bettering the ALS community” by sharing his journey and partnering a program established in conjunction with ALSA Nevada to pursue a cure. He’s also developing his namesake foundation, the Porello Project, which focuses on improving the human experience of coping with the disease.
“I wanted to partner with passionate people already helping as opposed to trying to lay new foundations,” he added.
He says his passion will endure, regardless of how his body progresses.
“You know, I wanted to be open about it all,” says Porrello. “People say it’s brave and courageous, I don’t know any other way — to me, it’s so obvious.”
The 29-year-old tells Goalcast he has scrolled through a lot of the 3,000-plus comments but hasn’t had time to read them all. He says he’s also received about 300 messages from strangers reaching out to him, telling him what an impact he’s made.
“I really appreciate every person who took time to send a message,” he says. “I want to give them the same time back.”
Now that he’s retired, Porrello tells Goalcast his days are busier, planning for ALS. But his priority is always spending time with his family — his wife and two kids (a two-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old). “We’re busy at home,” he says.
Porrello says the “most fulfilling” part of his viral post is that he asked people to “take a minute” and over 100,000 people have reacted and started to talk about ALS.
“To me, that’s something.”
Use Porrello’s inspiring outlook to help guide you today. “The world is magic, it’s up to you to find it” — he found it and so can you.