Above and Beyond: For A Million Summers

Above and Beyond: For A Million Summers
Author Rusty Cummings
Author Rusty Cummings

Editors Note: Every Wednesday in February KSLA News 12 will profile an ArkLaTex resident, nominated from submissions from our viewers, who have gone above and beyond.  If you know of someone who goes out of his or her way to help family, friends or total strangers, email your submission to ksla@ksla.com

MINDEN, LA (KSLA) - A fist pump and his arms in the air. It's a look many on the dirt track racing circuit and family members remember Rusty Cummings after most races.

"He taught me how to race, fish, hunt," says Rusty's very proud son Kyle. "There were a number of late nights spent in the shop between me and my Dad." Kyle and Rusty spent countless hours together in the garage working on their race cars.

"He once said, he head somewhere, everyone has a great novel in them", says Rusty's daughter Dana, bragging about how her rough and tough Dad surprised everyone in the family by writing a novel - a fictional love story.

Rusty's wife Brenda was the first person he slipped this secret to. "I think I got through four chapters, I read it. I was amazed. We encouraged him to finish it."

It took close to five years, but Rusty wrote a 26 chapter long boy-meets-girl love story. But just as he was finishing up on one of his final drafts, a doctor delivered an incredible surprise.

"That's the worse day because I remember him saying, 'Oh God no'", remembers Dana. Surgery or injections wasn't going to heal Rusty's persistent back pain. The doctor diagnosed Rusty with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - A.L.S.

"Years ago when Lou Gehrig gave his name to the disease, we are no further along today than we were then," says Dana.

Four short months later, Rusty lose his battle against the disease with no known cure.

Rusty signed off on the final draft of his book, 'For A Million Summers' just hours before he passed away.

Dana reading from the foreword she penned for Rusty's book: "My daddy's final prayer, God I know you can still perform miracles and heal all things, but I think this disease has taken me too far and when you're ready for me, I am ready".

Against all odds and a debilitating disease, Rusty finished his final race, 'For A Million Summers'.

"It's his legacy, what he left for us to do something with", adds Dana who says a part of the proceeds of the sale of Rusty's book with benefit the Louisiana/Mississippi chapter of the A.L.S. Association.

Read more about 'For A Million Summers' and to purchase your copy, click here: www.foramillionsummers.com.  Additional information can be found on the For A Million Summers Facebook page.

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