North Texan Writes a Book With His Eyes, Defying ALS Diagnosis - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texan Writes a Book With His Eyes, Defying ALS Diagnosis



    Man Writes a Book With His Eyes, Overcoming ALS Diagnosis

    Over the last 13 years, Clint Townsend says ALS has stolen his abilities limb by limb. But throughout years of loss, he's found a new purpose as an author and relied on technology to make the seemingly impossible happen. (Published Friday, April 12, 2019)

    In his Royse City home, Clint Townsend relies on the help of his sister and parents from the moment he wakes up until the time he goes back to bed.

    Since being diagnosed with ALS in 2006, Townsend has slowly lost control of his body limb by limb.

    "I don't like it. I've had to adapt to trying new things," said Townsend.

    So over the last 13 years, he's been forced to give up his hobbies and eventually his career in the food and beverage industry. But even in the middle of so much loss, he's managed to find a new purpose, one he believes came from divine intervention.

    "It was like the Holy Spirit breathed in the entire content of my book in my head," said Townsend.

    Townsend never expected to become an author. But towards the end of his career, he said he started envisioning characters along with the plot for a novel.

    When his hands no longer gave him the ability to type, he continued writing using his voice.

    With it, he was able to release his first book, The Folds.

    He quickly got to work on a second, but then his voice grew weak as well. After doctors determined a tracheotomy was necessary, Townsend began to rely solely on new technology called Eyegaze.

    Sitting in front of a tablet, a laser reflects from Towsend's eye to a keyboard.. A camera then recognizes his blinks to select letters, allowing him to create words.

    "I can do everything with that that a normal person can do on the computer with eight fingers and two thumbs. It takes me a little longer, but I can take care of all of my communication," said Townsend.

    And in his case, an entire second novel.

    Earlier this year, Townsend released Xn, a science fiction novel.

    "It makes my heart smile to know that he's still creating," said Clint's sister Kim Townsend.

    As his caretaker, she admits his decline has been difficult to watch. But she said his ability to find a new direction in the midst of so much loss, is nothing short of inspiring.

    "It has opened up his world maybe even bigger than it already was, and I don't even know if he knows how big his world is now," said Kim.

    Townsend's first book, 'The Folds,' is being re-released by his new publisher on May 14. He will autograph books, using a thumbprint with help from Kim, that are ordered directly through his website.

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