About Me


First and foremost I would like to thank all my wonderful family and friends for all of your support, prayers, and unconditional love.  I am truly blessed to have so many people in my life that I cherish and that I have been able to impact postively as well as being impacted by you in a way that words can’t describe.

As you know I am a person that always looks at the postive things in life and although we dont always understand why things happen in the way that they do there is ultimately a divine plan and the universe is working exactly as it should be. I have been asked by several doctors and friends if I am angry and my repsonse is always the same. There is no need for negative energy and anger serves no purpose. I have been extremely blessed in my life and will not go down without a fight! If you put your energy in a postive attitude you can achieve whatever it is that you want. The Law of Attraction is something that I have always believed in and that my daughter Angela has really inpspired me to remember.

I am looking forward to sharing all my great and fun filled life experiences with you all on this site  in an effort to keep you up to speed with my doctor appoinments, treatments, and adventures.

Life is what you make it and every day that you waste on wishing it were different you miss the big picture. I have found that there are three kinds of people in this world: Those that make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what the heck happened. To the best times in life! As I always say celebrate your victories and I am looking forward to doing that with you all.


36 Responses to “About Me”

  1. steffen5 Says:

    I love you dad and wanted to say that you are one of the most amazing people that I know. I admire your strength and continued postive attitude. Everything does happen for a reason. Although we do not always understand the very thing that is happening to us at that moment, in time, as we reflect on our lives we will see the true life lessons and blessings that have come from that very situation. One qoute that I often say to my self is “If God brings you to it he will bring you through it” Believe this as it is a powerful thought and will bring you peace of mind in times of need.”
    The other one that you taught me is to “Celebrate my victories.” You have many to celebrate and I am looking forward to celebrating many more with you. I am so proud of you that you have such a grate attitude and instead of focusing on ALS that you are focusing on all the positives aspects of your life and the blessings that you have been given and will continue to experience throughout your life! Your happiness is not dependent on your wealth, your intelligence, or you’re other abilities. Your happiness is not contingent on your continued good health, or your having loving friends, relatives, or significant others. In fact, happiness is already a part of your innate nature. There is nothing you have to do or get in order to be happy. All you have to do is allow it to surface. I love you very much and am behind you 100%. We are going to beat this! ALS doesnt have a clue of the power of the Steffens strength! I love you dad!

    • Don Steffen Says:

      You know I love you and I believe that you have the strength inside you to handle whatever comes your way. You just have to believe in your abilities. Actually, you have been a strength for me dealing with this ALS. I am so proud of the way you put this website together. I know it was a lot of hard work for you creating this website, and I want you to know that I really appreciate what you have done. I have had many compliments from friends and family about how well this website was put together and that they are so glad to have a place where they can look and receive information about my journey with ALS. Also, this website has provided something else…a connection that I may not have gotten so quickly. Because Cindy Haeck passed it on to Amada Watson, Miss North Carolina 2008, I was led to The Catfish Hunter Foundation which led me to Dr. Bedlack at Duke University. Who knows what will come out of the appointment I have set with him this coming December 15th. This may be a blessing from God created from the connections of this website. God works in mysterious ways! You are right, ALS doesn’t have a clue of the power of the Steffen’s strength. Love, Dad

  2. Danielle (Angela's friend) Says:

    Hi Don,

    My name is Danielle. I’m one of Angela’s friends from UNC-Wilmington and have been blessed by her friendship ever since we were roommates in college. You have raised a wonderful daughter, a true genuine person who cares about others, and I’m sure you are very proud of her.

    I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you every day and am so proud of you for your positive outlook on life. You are a true inspiration to others and have recapped your difficult journey wonderfully, which I know can be difficult. Your blog will really teach people a lot about ALS so you should feel proud of sharing your journey with others. As you may know, I myself have been battling a life threatening disease (invasive breast cancer) and maintain my own blog. You will soon realize that blogging will not only help keep your family and friends up to date, it will also be very therapeutic for you as well while you fight the battle that lies ahead.

    I totally agree with your outlook on life – it’s important to be positive, enjoy life and not take things for granted. Here are some of my own favorite quotes:

    “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the univserse is unfolding as it should.” You will soon realize how many people you are helping by creating your blog. I started my blog on breast cancer back in April and get random hits from people I don’t even know: people searching Google for things contained in my blog. You will reach so many people beyond your own network and will make a positive difference in the lives of others.

    “Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life.” I liked this quote before I was diagnosed with cancer but it has new meaning to me now, as someone battling a life threatening disease.

    I hope you take comfort in knowing how many people will be praying for you. Prayers and positive thinking definitely work. There have been some cases of people who went on to lead long lives after ALS and I hope you are one of those too! You definitely have the capactiy, positive outlook and support to help get you there! You just have to believe, never give up, stay positive and trust your instincts.

    Along my own journey, one of my blog posts was this:

    “As we all know, but sometimes forget, life is short and no one lives forever. Many people leave this world too soon, before they have the opportunity of realizing the true greatness that comes with living. I have come to appreciate the fact that I’ve been blessed with a wake up call, something not everyone gets or appreciates. I’m not going to waste any more time worrying about what could have been, or what should have been. I will instead be grateful for what I have, enjoy my life as it is and live in the moment. I would never trade my life, my wonderful life, for ANYTHING, even a life twice as long, however long that may be.”

    God bless you and your family, Don. I will check your blog often and pray for your health and success. By the way, I’m going to be on the Dr. Oz show in the fall. I would be happy to send Dr. Oz an email suggesting that he have you on the show as well. We can talk about how we believe positive thinking and heatlhy lifestyles can affect a life threatening diagnosis. You could be famous! 😉

    Love and prayers,


    • steffen5 Says:


      I was inspired by your blog when Angela sent it to me and Diann and I thought you did an amazing job on your site by inspiring people through your story. I hope to do that as well. I am a true believer in postive thinking and my belief in God will help me through this journey. I would love to meet you sometime and am happy that you are on your way to being cancer free. What a blessing. Angela thinks highly of you as well and has been praying for you and asked all of us to do so as well. The power of prayer is great. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts and look forward to meeting you.
      Well said on the part that you talked about life and how it is too short. I too am going to look at this as a gift to share my message and in hopes of helping others. Best wishes, your survior buddy Don!

  3. Sara Says:

    The Big Don!!!
    I wanted to start off by saying that it was such a great gift having you and Diann join us on one of the most important days of my life. It was quite a journey for me to get there lord knows we almost thought it would never happen- as you guys know but I made it and Ang is next dammit 🙂

    I have always admired your relationship and the incredible bond you have with Ang. Its a very unique one between a father and a daughter and you guys are quite a duo. She is a spitting image of you (personality and all ha ha). You have been her best friend and guardian angel through it all and I thank God that she has you. We are blessed to have gotten to know you. You are a great person with a heart of gold. I will always be proud that I was part of your family growing up. You and Diann were the coolest parents whenever we did something wrong and got caught for it 🙂

    I know your life journey is has taken a big left turn but with your determination and positive attitude you will knock ALS on its ass!!!! I’ve never known a Steffen not to put up a fight when the going gets tough and since your “THE DON” I can only imagine how hard your giong to swing!

    Good luck on your journey. You are in all of my family’s hearts and prayers. We love you tons.

    • steffen5 Says:

      Thanks for kind words you have always been like a daughter to me. We really enjoyed your wedding. It was an honor to sit at the head table and I enjoyed sitting with both sets of parents while getting to know Bryans parents as well. Yeah your right the next guy that Ang is with is going to have to go through me first. We look forward to seeing you in TN when you visit or wherver are next adventure lies. Your right about the Steffen strength and Im not going out without a fight. Power of positive thinking takes you a long way! Your family is special and we all love them. See you soon!

      THE DON

  4. Dick Yahnke Says:


    Ever since the day you told me it was you who gave Harry Reed a case of shingles because you were persistent and insisted on proper business practices and forced him to shape up or get out I knew you were a winner.
    I enjoyed talking with you recently and appreciate access to your blog to follow your progress. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Keep on keeping on!
    All the best,
    Dick Yahnke

    • steffen5 Says:


      I have always enjoyed our time together at Deere and our friendship. I thank you for the information about the herbs that you shared with me. I always enjoyed being a used pet salesman with you and I wanted to know if you ran across anymore one hump camels! Talk to you soon Yanhk!


  5. Traci Says:

    Hi Don,

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday season! Its too bad that we do not live closer because you are truly are a contagious personality. I am sure the holidays at the Steffen household are filled with laughter and most of all sheer optimism. This is a time to celebrate the things that we have to be the most thankful for and you have had many blessing to add to the list. Lucky for you, you are smarter than most and retired about 30 years ago. It shows, you might have a huge smile on your face in every picture I have ever seen!

    I have only had the opportunity to see you a few times but I have been most fortunate to enjoy an 11 year friendship with Angela…through the moldy walls in college to the boy drama which we could talk about for days (I meant to say years)! I have an enormous amount of respect for you and your family based on what I hear and see from Ang. I understand that she is planning to spend a lot of time at home over the holidays and who could argue with her. You must give the best advice and/or screw her head back on when required! You know (us girls) we love the tough love and that is what is so great about the both of you…I have never had a more honest but true friend and through some difficult times no less!! Thank you for raising such an incredible daughter.

    On to celebrating life, which might be my New Year’s Resolution…we have not had a lot of time together so I am thinking that I may just have to invite myself to TN when Ang is in town (sometime soon)!! Not that we need a reason to par-tary, but a toast is in order! I am thankful to be able to share in your experience and will continue to check out your progress.

    With great love – Traci

    • steffen5 Says:


      Thank you so much for all of your prayers and positive feed back. It was great to see you again at Saras wedding watching you and Ang cut a rug on the dance floor. I know Ang loves you and is thankful for your friendship as well. I have always taught my family that family is everything and that true friends are ones to keep close by. I know you girls all to well… Through all the funny stories and good and not so good times. I know you are going through a somewhat hard time as well and want you to know that you deserve the best and not to settle for anything but that! Sometimes we dont always get why we are going through things that we are but in the end the ultimate reason appears and it is God sent. Whether its a guy or health! I am so greatful that Ang has friends like you that are also with her through the touch times. With optimism and a positive attitude anything can be conquered. You are more than welcome to come and hang out anytime. Angela will be there for 10 days this Christmas come if you can. If not you two will need to find a time to come so we can PARTY! I look forward to seeing you soon! AS you said a big toast is in order and yes CELEBRATING LIFE IS ESSENTIAL! Tell your family Happy Holidays from the Steffens.


  6. Dick Yahnke Says:


    Just received the update on your progress and the great new opportunity at Duke. Sounds like hope and great news are in the air. Your attitude and positive approach to taking care of challenges and obstacles is the same as it’s always been. You are an inspiration! Keep on keeping on, my friend. You should know that the used pet business is booming and I’m likely to need your strong assistance in finding additional one hump camels, toothless goats with dentures, and other novelties as the business grows. Seriously, of course you and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Dick Yahnke

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Dick,

      Thats so funny you have me laughing my ass off. Im looking forward to going to the next bar together and working up our next business plan for our used pet business. Im sure we can find a one eyed kangeroo or with the crrent economy we can put in our buinsess plan the prospect of going after the taco bell dog now that he is out of work since Taco Bell dumped him.

      Thanks for your wishes. I wish you and your family happy holidays.


  7. Tom Crotty Says:

    Hi Don,
    Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and our prayers for progress in your visit to Duke today! Dawn still remembers how nice you and Diann were to us when we were investigating moving to Raleigh years ago. Your welcoming attitude and help made the decision easier (and a very good one!).
    It’s great to be able to catch up with you and your family on this blog. Your positive attitude is truly an inspiration to many, and will serve you well working to beat ALS.
    I’ve been doing some reading recently on the subject of mindfulness (i.e. cultivating an appreciation for the fullness of each moment), and it sounds like you have become somewhat of a master yourself. There are a couple of short quotes from Thoreau’s Walden that you might appreciate: “God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages”, and “to affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts”. Keep up the good fight, and hope to see you sometime when you’re in the triangle area.

    Take care,
    Tom Crotty

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Tom,

      Your quotes are right on the money and so true. To be able to live in the present is a true art form. If you learn to master that you will be ahead of the curve. I try to do that to the best of my ability and believe that when you accomplish that you are well on your way. It is really good to hear from you. I have thought about you often. Thank you for your birthday wishes. I am going to do an update on my visit on the site to get everyone up to speed with what I learned from the ALS clinic there. I talked to Carson and the next time that I am in the area will get everyone together for dinner and drinks. I hope you and your family are doing well. Keep in touch with me and we will catch up soon.


  8. Cindy & Dave Haeck Says:

    Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!
    Wishing you GREAT news and information at Duke University today. Synchronistic that you’re there on your birthday. May you be surrounded by the spirits of healing power. Best to you and Diann – Cindy & Davae Haeck

    • steffen5 Says:


      Thank you for the birthday wishes. Yes miracles are happening. I appreciate all your prayers, keep them coming…. I really appreciate you getting me introduced to this doctor and am planning on updating the site in regards to my visit. Happy Holidays to you and your family!


  9. Dwight Ange Says:

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Thanks for sending the web link; Angela did a fantastic job creating the site. I remember when she threw her shoe on top of the house and I got it down. I can not remember the reason the shoe was on the roof, but I remember as always you had a good story to tell.

    Mark Bodwell has kept me informed on your status. Looking at the site, you are keeping you positive attitude which you taught me. It is hard to understand why things happen, but we understand friends. We are all thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers.

    Thinking back on the old Residential days brings back a lot of memories. Lynchburg Lemonades after putting out fires all day. Going to lunch and getting you or Haeck to buy the french fries and leave the tip. French fries are always better, when the other guy buys. They were a lot of nice memories and currently, I am the guy in the office with the lowest Raleigh Id number, RC05003, and I get too explained to those who ask who were 1 and 2.

    Your site got me a little updated on your family. My oldest, Wesley, has graduated from Carolina, married, has a 2 year old daughter, and they are expecting a boy on New Years Day. My daughter, Jamie, has graduated from Carolina and is working in Greensboro, NC.

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I will work on having lunch with you in the future. I have not had really good french fries, since our Residential days.

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hey Dwight,

      I always said that you would be number 1 in Raleigh one day! Its good to hear from you. I remember all of our hardwork in getting the Raleigh division started and to see where it is today must make you feel good. I will never forget the outstanding lunch that Fran prepared for us with that deer meat. I have to say it has been a pleasure getting to know you and your family throughout the years. In my total career with John Deere you were the fastest guy to get to the door when the check came in world record speed to say the least ha ha ….. I remember all of our hard work and the lynchburg lemonades were a must. We will definitley have to get togehter for luch and perhaps Ill buy you some french fries. Seems hard to believe that Wesley has a family and Jamie is working out of college. Time flies. I have always enjoyed our friendship and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks for keeping in touch. Best wishes to you and your family.


  10. Mark Fering Says:

    Don, your comments are so right on and I agree that you always were positive and gave it your best everyday. Although my father was a super positive guy, I never was lucky enough to inherit that and have been working to develop that valuable and vital skill. You are an inspiration to me and many others on how to deal with the inevitable challenges we are confronted with in life. I really do admire the way you are viewing this and dealing with it and am determined to learn from you to become a better person. Will keep checking here from time to time and will be thinking of you often. Mark F.

  11. Dick Yahnke Says:

    Thanks for the phone call back and the usual inspiration and “shot in the arm” you provide every time I’ve ever talked to you. You continue to be the tough guy who in dong the best and right thing could give Harry Reed the shingles. Keep on keepin on my friend. We’re hoping for good things and keeping you and Diane in our thoughts and prayers.

    Dick Yahnke

    • steffen5 Says:


      Yes brother always got to keep on the fight. Im really glad to hear that you are coming to the golf tournament. That will be a blast! There will be a lot of people from Deere coming that you will know. I appreciate your good words and always enjoy talking with you on the phone. I always come out with a laugh. See you soon!


  12. Don Flatau Says:

    Hi Don,
    It has been a long time since I had any contact with you. Today I received a three times forwarded email about the Don Steffen Golf Tournament and a CWP gathering. I then went to this site and read about you, Diann, and family. Great to read that your confidence and faith is still classic Don Steffen.
    Fifteen years ago last month you hired me into John Deere. Thank you! Thank you for having confidence in me and demonstrating to me how to be a John Deere person. The CWP experience was awesome and John Deere life continues to be great. There were some pretty rough years following the CWP closure but patience and gentleness works. God does have a plan for each of us.

    Thank you sharing the ALS details in your blog and thank you for the reminder to enjoy life.

    I do not know at this time if I can make it to the May 1 events. If I cannot, I would like to stop in for a visit when I am in Oak Ridge again (son Karl and daughter in-law Emily live in Oak Ridge).

    God’s blessings and Happy Easter!
    Don Flatau

    • steffen5 Says:


      Nice to hear from you. Boy time flies by doesnt it? It was my pleasure bringing you into the Deere family and am really glad that you had such a positive experience and that Deere continues to be a grea place for you to work. We would love to see you at the tournament if you can make it if not please give me a call when your in town so we can grab some lunch and catch up. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter holiday!


  13. John Simpson Says:

    G’Day Don, I just recently learned of your struggles and, reading thru all the history, am glad to see that your indomitable optimism is still intact!
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Diann as you continue this journey.
    Since retiring from Deere, and becoming a full time sailor, I often think back and am very gratefull to you for the time we spent together. I can honestly say that that working at CWP was THE single most enjoyable period of my professional life. Thanks so much for making that happen,
    Regards and Best Wishes Always,
    Your Mate, John.

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hey mate, life of a sailor. Its nice to hear that Deere has such a great positive impact on your professional career and life and was my pleasure to be a part of that time in your life. It is always a pleasure to hear from you and I look forward to keeping up with you on this site. I’ve learned that you always have to keep the positive outlook no matter what. Life is good when you have the beauty of nature surrounding you while your sailing. Nice play. Glad to hear that you are enjoying life! Thanks for your prayers.


  14. Jeff Bazyn Says:

    Hello Uncle Don, it has been to long since i have seen you and Aunt Diane. I like this website so maybe we can stay a little more in touch. My mom hasn’t graduated to the computer age yet so she will probably use me to stay in touch. I am sorry to hear of your struggles but you sound like you have a good attitude. Keep it that way and stay strong. Love you man – take care. Jeff.

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I am sorry for the delay in response to you. Your mom has been keeping me informed as to what has been going on with you. I was shocked to hear that you were in the hospital and that you had pneumonia and that you were on a respirator. Glad to hear of your good progress. What a miracle that you have recovered so well. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with you on this website as well. I know your mom appreciates you keeping her in the loop with me. I will continue to pray for your good health as well as all of your family. As you know family is everything to me. Talk to you soon buddy.


  15. Debbie Johnson Schwiebert Says:

    Don: I recently learned of your fight with ALS. Bless you for your strength, your courage and your willingness to fight. I am cheering you on from the Quad Cities!

    You are so special to so many people. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sendingy you a great big East Moline Branch hug.


    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. I appreciate you reaching out to me. It is so nice hearing from you. I always enjoyed our days in East Moline. We always had a good time. I hope everything is going well with you.
      Looking forward to keeping in touch.


  16. hulya Says:

    hi don,
    I’m writing from Türkiye.My husband 38 years old was diognised two months ago.It’s bulbar onset. I fell so sad . you re a strong man have you will be in my prayers too

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Hulya,

      I am so sorry to hear about your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. Tell your husband to stay positive and enjoy every moment that he has with you and everyone he loves. Can you get to an ALS clinic to get with a Doctor that specializes in ALS? If so do it now. I have found that is the most important thing to do. See if there are any clinical trials that he can be a part of in finding a cure for ALS. I know it is tough to go through this not only being the person with ALS but also for all of our family and friends. Stay strong for him and encourage him to keep the fight. I have become a huge advocate in teaching others about ALS and raising money to find a cure. However, I know it may not help me I know that by raising awareness, educating others and raising money that a cure will be found. Every day is a blessing and no matter what is going on in life you have to take that day and live it to the fullest. My wife Diann feels sad as well but I tell her that no matter what happens in life you have to stay strong, live life to the fullest, and count all of your blessings. If you ever need some encouragement please feel free to contact me. Blessings to you and your husband! Stay strong!


  17. Brenda Hrivnak Says:

    In 2004 years ago I lost one of my best friends, Betty Walsh, at the age of 51 to ALS. I spent at least one day per week helping care for her during her brief illness (she lived for 12 months after diagnosis). I watched her and her family struggle with all of the changes, equipment needs, etc.

    In 2003-2005, there were no ALSA services in east Tennessee. Several of us started a grass roots organization “Tri-Cities ALS Support Team” to provide some support to PALS and their families we found by word of mouth in the Tri-Cities. In 2005 we discovered that a Tennessee chapter of ALSA had formed and they could do what we were doing…but much better. We turned over the funds we had raised and became a part of ALSA. We had our first walk in 2005 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. We had a dollar amount goal that Nashville office had indicated, “if you can raise $xx, we’ll be able to hire a Patient Services Coordinator for east Tennessee.” It seemed like an impossible task for the few of us who put together that walk…but when the total was announced, we had surpassed the goal. I still remember the group hug and tears of joy at what had been accomplished as a result of watching our friend live with ALS.

    Now Knoxville is having their first walk and I’ve been watching with great joy the total rise for weeks. I plan to travel to Knoxville to share in the excitement of the day. Blessings on you for having the wisdom to raise awareness of ALS and raise funds to search for a cure. Best of luck on reaching your goal! I can’t wait to meet you and your team and see about 5 teams who have walked in Tri-Cities in the past.

    I’ve known PALS who had no access to ALSA and I know PALS who have had the support of ALSA since diagnosis. I’m passionate about the PALS in east Tennessee have the support and knowledge they need to cope. Working as a volunteer with ALSA is the now a focus in my life. I’ll continue until I no longer can…or a cure is found

    • steffen5 Says:

      Hi Brenda,

      What a great story! You are a wonderful person for raising such great awareness for ALS. As a person who lives with ALS I thank you. I also raised some awareness through a golf tournament in May and was able to help as you have to get the walk into the area for us all. I appreciate your kind words and do look forward to meeting you at the walk. We will be wearing Green shirts that say “A team for Don Steffen”. Look for us so we can meet you! I appreciate you and your effort for the cause! Blessings to you and your loved ones.


  18. Bob Schaefer Says:

    Hey Big Daddy!!

    YOU SURE HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS!!.. I am proud to be on that list and in the company of such great people.. I bet you asked them is they were on the bus or off the bus in your fight..



    • steffen5 Says:

      Hey Bob,

      Thanks for your support buddy. That means a lot to me. Good to hear from you. I hope everything is going well for you and your family! Keep in touch with me. Your right you are either on the bus or off… Glad to know your on it!!!!

      Wishing you the best,


  19. Robbyr Says:


    I just read this on the Waterloo Black Hawk page. Brings back memories of past days at McElroy. Thought you would enjoy reading it.


    Congrats on hitting your goal for the walk.


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