Inspiring coach with ALS to speak Friday

by W. Winston Skinner

Delicious covered dish meals brought Rob Estes and Jeremy Williams together.

While Rob Estes was recuperating following brain tumor surgery, friends brought food. “We had people bringing us meals when we came home… bringing us meals three or four times a week,” Estes’ wife, Christi, recalled.

One of the families was from Harris County, and they shared “Tenacious,” the book by Williams, a winning football coach who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — destroys muscle use.

Williams built the football team at Greenville High School in Meriwether County into a powerhouse program. As his health declined, he has had to retire.

Rob and Christi Estes both read the book. “What a fantastic book,” she said. “What an inspiration.”

Williams will be the speaker for the first fundraiser for Can’t Never Could Inc., a non-profit corporation created by Rob and Christi Estes to help individuals and groups who are facing adversity and personal battles.

“Can’t Never Could, Living a Tenacious Life” will be held Friday at 6 p.m. in the parish hall at First United Methodist Church of Newnan at Greenville Street and Salbide Avenue. Tickets for the event are $25 and can be purchased through the organization’s website — http://www.cantnevercouldinc.com/.

The fundraiser will benefit the Bedford School in Fairburn, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Piedmont Brain Tumor Center. Some of the proceeds will also go into a fund to help local brain tumor patients and their families.

Christi Estes said goals include funding a scholarship to Bedford’s Squirrel Hollow Summer Camp “for children with learning differences” and to provide scholarships and Bibles to participants in FCA’s summer programs. “FCA was a big influence on Rob’s life when he was in high school,” she said.

The Piedmont Brain Tumor Center is being built across the street from Piedmont’s main hospital in Atlanta. Rob’s neuro-oncologist is among the physicians putting together the program there. “It will be a wonderful resource for the state — and for people with brain tumors and brain cancer,” Mrs. Estes said.

Rob Estes and Rob Brass — both men serve on the local FCA board — traveled to Harris County to meet Williams in anticipation of this Friday’s event. Williams now speaks using technology that transforms what he types into an electronic voice, but Estes said the coach communicates well.

“The smile he has is amazing. No word can describe the joy in his smile and in his eyes, he said.

“It feels like God has connected us,” Mrs. Estes said, reflecting on similarities between her family and the Williams.

Both Rob and Christi Estes talked about how the community has rallied around them personally — and come together to help make Can’t Never Could’s first fundraiser a big success.

“We’re almost sold out on the event,” Mrs. Estes said. “We are so blessed by the support we’ve gotten.”



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