George Smith: Diagnosed with ALS

George Smith and Diane Atwood/ALS interview

When George Smith was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, he vowed that his disease would not define the end of his life. For 18 years, George was executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, but he’s probably best known as a prolific writer — mostly about the Maine outdoors, but also about politics and about traveling with his wife Linda. Since his diagnosis, some of the things he loves most are harder to do, but he has a lot to be grateful for, especially his family and friends.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting George at his home in Mt. Vernon, Maine. His office is filled with memorabilia from artworks created by his late father Ezra Smith to a portrait of him by the late artist Jack Havey to awards and accolades and photographs of George fishing, hunting, or just enjoying the outdoors. When we sat down to record our podcast, we talked about his past, present, and future. For the second half of the episode, I interviewed Mauret Brinser, Executive Director of the ALS Association, Northern New England chapter.

In this podcast episode, George and I talk about

  • his goal to reach as many people as possible to share his experiences with ALS
  • how he has already heard from hundreds of people and how much it has helped him and his wife
  • his symptoms and how he was diagnosed
  • how he wants to continue writing as much as he can but how he’s had to cut back on some things
  • the challenges he faces
  • the importance of family and friends
  • how he’s had to get his affairs in order
  • end-of-life decisions
  • how he wants to be remembered
  • where to find his writings

In my interview with Mauret Brinser, Executive Director, ALS Association, Northern New England Chapter, we discuss:

  • what the ALS Association does
  • the Ice Bucket Challenge
  • genetic research
  • symptoms and diagnosis
  • treatment, including a new medication, called Radicava
  • expenses and insurance challenges
  • other resources

Listen to the episode now

Where else you can listen to or download the podcast

George’s website

George’s website, which is called George Smith Maine, contains a variety of writings, including George’s Outdoor News, Travelin’ Mainer(s), and Best of Maine. As he mentioned in the interview, he’s been writing book reviews, which he enjoys a lot. He also writes a monthly ALS update.

ALS resources

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.