#OneOnAdam: Why some Alberta friends are honouring a buddy with beer

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: A beer can tribute to Alberta man who died of ALS' Health Matters: A beer can tribute to Alberta man who died of ALS
Health Matters June 10: Friends of Adam Rombough are honouring him by selling cans of beer with his picture on them. As Su-Ling Goh reports, it's a unique fundraiser for the ALS Society of Alberta, and a fitting tribute to a generous young man – Jun 10, 2021

Kris Andreychuk says his good friend Adam Rombough would have enjoyed seeing his face on beer cans — and he would have loved the reason even more.

Rombough’s likeness is featured on Adam’s Pale Ale by Sea Change Brewing Company. The Edmonton business is donating $1 from each four-pack to the ALS Society of Alberta.

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“(The campaign) embodies who (Rombough) was. Not thinking about himself, thinking about others. This is just a continuation of that,” Andreychuk told Global News.

“He knew he didn’t have a lot of time… he knew how he wanted to use that time.”

Rombough was diagnosed with ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — in 2017. He died 14 months later, at age 34.

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The first signs of the neurodegenerative disease were weakness and stumbling: both in his steps and his speech. Andreychuk actually took Rombough aside to talk about what he assumed was a drinking problem.

“He shared with me that night that he had ALS. And I just broke down,” Andreychuk said.

“Mentally, he was 100 per cent Adam all the way to the end. It’s just that his body was failing.”

As the disease attacked his nervous system and his body shut down a bit more every day, Rombough managed to stay positive.

“His saying was, ‘I’m not dying slowly, I’m living quickly,'” his mother Tamis Rombough told Global News.

“He wanted to make whatever time he had left meant something. He wanted to leave a legacy for people.”

Read more: ‘I’m the luckiest man alive’: Calgary man lives by Lou Gehrig’s famous speech while battling ALS

That’s why Rombough spent most of his last year of life raising funds for the ALS Society of Alberta. As a successful business owner, he could afford the equipment he needed to remain in his home while his body deteriorated, but he knew others weren’t so lucky.

“He was always asking me, ‘What can I do to help? What can I do to make a difference?” Karen Caughey said.

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The executive director of the ALS Society of Alberta says people with ALS need power wheelchairs, lifts, communication devices and accessible vehicles. Those can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Most (of the equipment) isn’t covered (by Alberta Health), or it takes so long to get it. As ALS progresses so quickly, the person can’t wait months and months for something.”

Click to play video: 'Ask the Doctor: Explaining ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease' Ask the Doctor: Explaining ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease
Ask the Doctor: Explaining ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease – Jun 6, 2018

Rombough managed to raise about $90,000 for the non-profit organization. Family and friends hope beer sales raise much more.

Buyers of Adam’s Pale Ale are encouraged to post photos on social media with the hashtag #OneOnAdam.

“He would have bought all Albertans the first round… that is who he is,” Andreychuk said.

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“I’m so proud of him. We miss him horribly, but if he hadn’t died, this wouldn’t have happened. The awareness wouldn’t have happened,” his mother said.

For a list of locations selling the beer, visit the ALS Society of Alberta’s website.

Read more: COVID-19 means a ‘weird’ year for Alberta brewing industry

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