What’s important and inspiring about entrepreneur Orchard’s story is not his illness, not his death but his decision to create a meaningful life, while he had time, by doing for others. Here is an excerpt from his obituary in the St. Louis Beacon, his hometown newspaper.
One of the most improbable things Mr. Orchard did was write a 183-page book after most of his body had ceased to function, including his fingers and his voice. He wrote his memoir, “Extra Hands-Grasping for a Meaningful Life,” with his eyes. He learned to use Eyegaze, a special computer that tracks eye movements and types the letters on a screen, at the highest speed possible. Proceeds from “Extra Hands” were used to fund the nonprofit foundation he founded, Extra Hands - ALS, that paired high school and college student helpers with people living with ALS because, he said, ALS can be a lonely disease.
He founded Extra Hands for ALS and the Jack Orchard ALS Foundation. His faith was humanism, and he lived it.