NEWPORT BEACH — He referred to ALS not as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but as "A Love for Sailing."
It was Nick Scandone's way of turning his death sentence from Lou Gehrig's disease into a positive, which he did time and again. He won a gold medal in sailing at the 2008 Paralympics games in Beijing, just months before he died on Jan. 2, 2009.
Tuesday night at 6:30, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum will unveil an exhibit honoring Scandone's life, where Gary Jobson, a world-famous yachtsman and America's Cup winner, will be on hand to say a few words about Scandone.
"This is a celebration of his life; it's not a memorial," said Nick's widow, Mary Kate Scandone, 48, who was by his side when he died. His last words to her — just before she removed the oxygen mask from his face — were "I love you."
He didn't want to be put on life support. Scandone lived life boldly, both before and after the diagnosis, which came in July 2002, after he complained of back pain and began having trouble walking.