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Trip of a lifetime for Carmel family as father struggles with ALS

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A Carmel family is on the trip of a lifetime. They packed up and headed west four weeks ago to spend what little time they have together.

Jeff Homan was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Now, a wish he had for his wife once he passed was brought to life.

Doctors do not know why ALS occurs and the disease is fatal. There is no cure. Over time, ALS paralyzes the muscles to the point you can’t breathe. Homan’s lung capacity is below 18%. Jeff’s wife Tara says there’s no telling how long they have left. The purpose of the trip is to bring their wildest dreams to life and it all started with a promise.

“He said, ‘The summer I’m gone, buy a travel trailer and take the boys and travel all summer. I want you to explore. Everyone is happy outside and it will be healing,’” Jeff’s wife Tara said.

Tara took her husband’s wish and turned it into one last family adventure.

“Maybe the why is so people can see what an amazing human Tara is,” Jeff said. “We need more people like her because she is just everything.”

They bought a new travel trailer, made sure virtual learning would work for their boys and are now living in less than 150 square feet. They’re gone indefinitely.

“From the words, ‘You have ALS,’ we hit the ground running,’” Tara said. “From selling our home to changing names on accounts to getting a financial planner. I mean you name it and we have done it. I am setting aside what the future is going to look like without Jeff and a widow with two boys.”

A big challenge for the Homans is not having a power wheelchair or accessible van.

“Just a simple trip outside to go sightseeing will require eight transfers,” the mom of two said.

The chance to hike, bike and connect. The plan was to start at the Pacific Northwest and then head down the Oregon coast to California. They also have plans to rock climb their way through Nevada.

“A trip like this would take a lifetime for most families to do,” Homan said. “We are able to do amazing things and at the same time I would trade all of it to not have ALS.”

This chapter of their life is only possible through faith.

“We’re trying to love the life we never wanted,” Tara said.

The couple’s two children, Evan and Cole, are learning hard work at a young age and know there is an army of support at home.

“We know we are in the final stretch and so the most important thing for us is to live and live well,” Tara said.

They’re making memories together as a family with what little time they have left.

The Homans think they might be back at the end of October. Plans could change if Jeff’s health deteriorates quickly.

If you’d like to help the Homan’s with medical costs and care, click here.