COARSEGOLD — “It’s late but I’m up taking care of my husband’s ventilation and couldn’t sleep. Not that you needed to know that,” Amber Tringali’s message read. “I hope this all makes sense, it is almost two in the morning. The community is throwing us a fundraiser and I feel so incredibly blessed because medical expenses are piling up.”
The medical expenses Amber refers to are for the care of her husband and father of their three children, David Tringali. In 2015, shortly after his 31st birthday, David was diagnosed with Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. ALS is more commonly associated with people in their late 50s and 60s. After diagnosis, on average, a person’s life expectancy is two to five years.
We first heard about David and Amber from Alicia Arce, Amber’s sister, in a story she wrote, When The World Began To Change.
Now, more than a year later, supporters are invited to a fundraiser at the Coarsegold Community Center on Friday, May 26, starting at 6 p.m. Ahead of the event is an online auction giving people a chance to bid on three different trips: a stay at Bass Lake, a vacation in Cabo San Lucas, and a hunting trip to Argentina. All of the proceeds will benefit the medical expense fund for the Tringali family.
Amber grew up in Bass Lake and now the family lives in Yosemite Lakes Park. Amber notes the difference in her husband’s condition in just over a year.
“David is in a wheelchair permanently and full time,” Amber explains. “He basically cannot move from the neck down, minus being able to minimally use his left hand to steer his wheelchair. He has a breathing therapist and a ventilation triage machine that helps him breath at night.”
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.
“He needs a physical therapist and has to be stretched daily because the disease has become very painful if you touch or move him, so with stretching it’s a bit better.”
Amber keeps followers apprised with what’s happening via a Facebook page, ALS Daddy. Despite everything, she says, David is a still good dad.
“Kalista, 6, is always reading to him and David junior, 3, uses Daddy as a road and will say things like, ‘Pretend my hand is your hand, dad, and we are playing together.’ Zoe, 9, is our little nurse and helps feed Dad his snacks.”
Amber takes care of the rest for David. Before he was forced by illness to leave his profession, David was the office manager at a law firm for nearly a decade. The Tringalis have been married for 12 years this coming November.
“I do everything from bathing, feeding, and toileting, to itching places I never thought I would, to calling the fire department when he falls. His voice has slowed drastically, so he is hard to understand and grunts mostly now.”
David is in desperate need of an eye-controlled voice computer to attach to his chair, Amber says. After initially taking a leave of absence from her position as a marriage, child and family therapist working with child protective services and foster care cases, Amber necessarily quit and now works for In Home Support Services to take care of her husband. She also works from home part-time for Golden Hills Dental.
“I really am doing all I can to manage three kids, my terminally ill hubby and work life without losing my mind,” Amber continues, candidly. She’s starting to see the effects of their situation on the kids, and meltdowns can understandably come from any direction at any moment, herself and David, included. The fundraising event is coming at a good time for them, emotionally and financially.
“This fundraiser is to help with all of David’s extra medical costs. He is now taking a trial medication in San Francisco, and we pay for hotels each month for three days, plus travel and food. We pay for daily medications, co-pays, and doctor visits. We need to pay off his wheelchair and we are working with the Gleason Foundation for voice-eye recognition equipment, but there is no guarantee, and that will cost thousands I don’t even want to think about.”
For the upcoming fundraiser on Friday night at the Coarsegold Community Center, A Night In Italy, the Tringalis had some major trips donated and Amber wants to share them with the community.
- Up for Bid – 7 day stay at Bass Lake. Three-story cabin with four bedrooms, large kitchen, deck overlooking lake, outdoor fire pit, BBQ, hot tub, and trail leading to private dock and beach. Valued at $4000 per week during summer. Starting bid $500 and bidding ends at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26.
- Up for Bid – 7 day stay at the beautiful Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This is a one-bedroom villa with two queen beds and a pull-out sofa. The room has a Jacuzzi tub and a partial kitchen. The resort has five pools, five restaurants, and a renowned golf course on site. Bidding ends on Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Opening bid is $800.
- Up for bid – An amazing hunting trip in Argentina. Includes lodging, meals and beverages for seven days, as well as tags for a free range black buck and a free range red stag. This is a guided hunt for two hunters. Bidding starts at $3500 (valued at over $10,000) and ends on Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Bidders can bid in the comment section on the Facebook page for the event, where each vacation is featured as a link. Bidders do not have to be at the event to win. Organizers will update Facebook with bids taken at the fundraiser dinner.
“They are doing an auction online, through message, or in person. The trip goes to highest bidder and their value is worth much more than they will go for, I’m sure. There will be a cabin at the lake, Cabo, and Argentina as part of it! There will be a raffle or silent auction at the event, as well, and an Italian dinner.”
Dinner includes choice of spaghetti or fettuccine, garlic bread, salad, and choice of soda or bottled water. Adults $12, kids 2-15 $7, family $40 max.
Amber says the family is extraordinarily grateful for all the support.
“This community always continues to amaze me.”
Read more about the Tringali family in Alicia’s story, published last year: