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How fixing up an old Mustang helped one ALS patient find joy through friendship

ALS patient finds joy through restoring old Mustang
How restoring an old Mustang fostered joy, friendship for one ALS patient 02:37

College Station, Texas — If there's anything even remotely good about having ALS, 56-year-old Craig Reagan of College Station, Texas, says it may be a heightened sense of gratitude. 

Gratitude for caregivers like his wife Nancy, his children, his dog Taco, and his 1973 Ford Mustang — which even though it had stopped running back in 1999 — took up permanent residence at his house. 

"It's a big paperweight," Craig explained to CBS News, adding that he "just had such an attachment to it." 

Reagan has had the Mustang since high school. 

"And he was proud of it," Nancy said.

Craig had hoped that someday his two sons might want to fix it up with him, but they showed no interest in cars. Then, he planned to do it himself, but he was diagnosed with ALS in 2016.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing patients to lose their ability to move and speak.

The Mustang sat rotting — until some old high school friends caught wind.

"And everybody, as soon as I called these guys, they were like, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" Richard Watson said. 

For the next year, the friends went to work on it, putting in hundreds of hours while other kids from the class of 1985 paid for parts. 

And not long ago, that big, immovable paperweight was ready to lift off. 

"It was almost like a piece of him…that came back to life," his wife Nancy said.

While there is still no known cure for ALS, Craig has clearly found his treatment.

"I feel like I'm a teenager," Craig said.

And as for the people who made the moment possible, they insist the bigger gift was the lesson they received.

"He reminded us of something maybe we forgot," Watson said. 

"Just do good stuff for people," friend Mike Silva added. "That's all that matters. Just do good stuff today."

Do good stuff today. There's no better medicine on earth.

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