Former UW-Platteville diver, Bob Aker, diagnosed with ALS

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MEQUON (WITI) -- "Don't give up." "Don't say 'woe is me.'" "Count your blessings." "Be thankful." Those are the words of Chris Aker as she watches her husband battle ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Bob Aker is a big-time Green Bay Packers fan!

Back in the day, Aker, a 48-year-old husband and father of three was a terrific diver at UW-Platteville. He spent his life teaching others his talent as a swim instructor and aquatics director first in Madison and then at the Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee.

Keeping his positive attitude has been a challenge since he was diagnosed with ALS in November of 2012.

Aker says he is thankful for loving family members who have helped him hold up throughout his ordeal. After his diagnosis, Aker's mother shared some simple, yet profound words that he tries to live by every day: "Don't die before you die."

One of the ways Aker continues to contribute is by making some of the most beautiful pens you will ever see. He inherited the talent from his father, who made him a couple of them 10 or 15 years ago. He ordered his son a lathe and helped set up shop in Aker's garage.

Being able to give that gift away is something Aker says has been a blessing.

Aker's many friends at the Jewish Community Center will remember last May, two 12-year-old boys helped raise money for their former swim coach by organizing a day-long basketball tournament -- Buckets for Bob, which provided Aker with emotional and financial support.

Also in May, Lynn Cassidy, who lost her husband John to the disease, donated proceeds from her family's second annual walk/run to assist the Aker.

As Aker goes through his own journey with ALS, Aker is at peace, knowing he has always lived each day to its fullest.

A fundraiser for Aker is planned at La Chimenea in Germantown on Monday, September 16th from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Additionally, a fund has been established at BMO Harris Bank in Aker's honor.