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Former Toronto Maple Leafs Hall of Fame defenseman Börje Salming recently disclosed that he was suffering from ALS, and the latest heartbreaking update from his spouse was that he's lost the ability to speak and now relies on an iPad to communicate. He's also now relying on a feeding tube for his daily nutrition.
And from one Swedish legendary defenseman to another, this is certainly hitting former Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom in a hard way. Lidstrom, who grew up idolizing Salming and now sits on the board of the newly created Borje Salming ALS Foundation, hates seeing his hero go through this horrible illness.
“Börje Salming became my idol early on,” Lidstrom recalled during his days growing up in Vasteras. “Börje Salming was my big hero growing up.”
“I received a request about a month ago if I wanted to sit on the board and be involved, and I felt that was a matter of course,” Lidstrom said. “I am honored to be able to help Börje in some way and to help with this collection that we are going to do to stop this terrible disease.”
Lidstrom, who said that he recently communicated with his boyhood idol, explained that it was understandably emotional to see him in this state as well as the toll that it takes on his family.
“It is emotionally difficult to see Börje in such a situation. And you also suffer with Pia who has to carry a big load, and with the rest of the family as well,” Lidstrom said. “So it was very emotional to talk to them.”
“It feels very good to be able to contribute with what I can contribute,” Lidstrom said. “Be able to support the family, but also contribute by doing something for ALS in general and see if the researchers can find a solution for this terrible disease.”