Prepare to be inspired by today’s episode. Chris Beckette and Nathaniel Palone join me to talk about their podcast, Born 2 Battle. In 2018 Chris was diagnosed with ALS. They started the podcast in an effort to share their life experiences and the battles of life with ALS. Despite facing such a crippling disease, Chris demonstrates an amazing positivity and perseverance, inspiring others to keep a positive outlook no matter what battle they may face. We also discuss why they chose to take the podcast route, tips on starting your own podcast, and what you can do to help Chris to make sure he has the proper long term care that will allow him to live a full life.
**There is explicit language in this podcast***
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Hey, just a heads up, I’m not marking the episode as explicit, but there are a few curse words that get dropped in this one. So if you’re sensitive to that kind of stuff or if you’re possibly listening in the car with young kids, you’ve been warned. All right.
Enjoy this amazing conversation with Chris Nathaniel. Hi and welcome to Causepods I’m your host, Mathew Passy, here in the podcast, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes. Whether it’s a non-profit, they work with a charity, they support a social justice campaign.
They’re championing a medical condition they’re battling or someone who is just looking to make a positive impact on their local community, their state, the country or the world. These are podcasters with a positive mission, along with raising awareness for our guests favorite cause. We’re also going to see if we can raise some money to support their efforts. So make sure you check out the show notes for each episode and causepods.org to learn more about what they’re doing, how to help them achieve their goals.
I’m going to take you out to the West Coast today and doing something a little bit different, I don’t believe we have ever had to folks on the pod simultaneously or if we have, it has been a really, really long time. But I am very excited for this conversation. We are speaking with Chris Beckett and Nathaniel Palone. They are the hosts of the Born to Battle podcast. It is all about demonstrating positivity and perseverance in the battle with ALS.
And in particular, it’s all about raising funds and awareness for Chris’s journey, taking on ALS and health care expenses that he has to deal with. Chris and Nathaniel. Thank you so much for joining us here on sports today, Mathew.
Thanks so much for having us on today. We’re very happy and excited to be here.
Yeah. Thank you, Mathew. Appreciate your time. And obviously sharing the message that Chris and Alex is important to both of us. So, again, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
It is my pleasure. And just to give the audience some context, the first voice you heard was Chris, of the one you probably hear throughout most of the conversation. And Nathaniel is here joining in the background. So, I mean, it is obvious why you guys are doing this. It’s right there in the message. I guess my question to start, this is really going to be taking this on together, right? Like what brought you guys together to take on this show and to launch this project?
One of you is in California. One of you is up in the Portland area. So what’s that relationship and what are you guys hoping to accomplish together?
So I actually posed the idea to Chris about a month ago, and we know each other from high school. So we actually played basketball together when we were young and we were on the same team our freshman year of high school. So from there we became really good friends and our bond has continued to grow since then. And even though we don’t live in the same state anymore, we stay in touch, we travel to see each other, and we have continued to grow our friendship beyond what we were in high school.
Yeah, and also the Berthon that here was an opportunity where he wanted to be able to preserve my voice and kind of capture the moment where share and also on a somewhat selfish side, that kind of fun, because then we get to interact with each other throughout the week. So forcing ourselves to kind of hang out and be the best friend that we are. So it’s kind of a beautiful and wonderful thing that we have going on. I love that.
I love when folks are using this platform. It’s just a way to stay connected to people. I actually did the same thing. One of my first personal podcasts projects was a buddy of mine who left the company we were working at, went West Coast to Seattle and we decided a podcast would be a great way for us to talk last week. So I totally, totally relate to that.
So, Chris, when Nathaniel approached you about doing a podcast, what was your first reaction to that?
Both from a what the goal and what the mission is here, but also from the sort of technical side of doing all this?
I think first and foremost, there was a lot of excitement and I was to the test because my friend wanted to start something like this with me. And it was kind of all about me intent, where everything is about gaining awareness for us and sharing my story and our story together as friends. So it’s kind of been a great opportunity and so talked by because anytime you like, if you get to hang out with your friend and stay, there are much more connected, especially when you’re in two different states and you can’t ask for anything better than that.
And on the technical side, I’m going to have to leave that question more to the thing, given that he is a guru in everything behind our podcast, I would joke around and say I’m just here. I come and talk a little bit. OK, so until then, he is the mastermind behind everything before the finial jumps in about that.
Was there any intimidation as far as getting on mic and presenting your voice to the world on this platform? Was there any hesitation?
No see, no hesitation, because I think what me and my fiancé Taylor are kind of bringing our approach to our battle with us is we’re as open and transparent about everything as possible. Because there is so much unknown with this disease and how it affects people on day to day basis with relation to so many things that might get overlooked. So we have and I had no hesitation with the podcast because I’m an open book. No question is too much for me.
OK. All right, cool.
I want to get back into that battle and some of that change and what we should learn and know about ALS. But Nathaniel, going back to that question about launching a podcast, what were some of the hurdles that you were concerned with?
I mean, really, just from the technical stance of you guys are in two completely different states, close to probably a thousand miles apart from each other. What were you thinking about? Where is your background on this that you wanted to do a podcast and how you get it off the ground?
Originally opposed the idea because Chris had mentioned that he was doing voice banking to record his voice and allow that to be transferred over to some sort of device that he could portray his message to whoever he’s talking to specifically. I feel like it’s really important for Taylor, his fiancee, to hear his voice because eventually he will lose the ability to speak. So the motivation for me was purely I get to spend more time with my friend, talk about our past and present and just every day what he’s going through, and then also help with the ability to record everything we talk about.
And hopefully technology will advance to the point where whatever he wants to say, he’ll be able to say it with his natural voice. Beyond that, I have no experience with podcasting at all. I threw the idea out there just to see if Chris would buy and he was all about it. And so from there, I figured out how I’m going to approach this and how I’m going to do it. I signed up on a website and I just kind of went from there.
It’s a continual learning process, to say the least, but I’m having fun with it. And I again, I get I get to spend more time with my friend.
That’s awesome. And it looks like not that this is any sort of plug or anything like that, but you went with Buzz Sprout is your podcast hosting platform. I’ve spoken to the folks at Buspar actually on the show because they were doing some really cool work at the beginning of the pandemic to make it easier for folks who were sharing good information about covid and the coronavirus to use their platform for free. So certainly we appreciate them and what they do. And it sounds like they were able to make this whole process pretty easy for you, right?
It’s been a pretty seamless transition. I haven’t really had any hurdles that I’ve had to overcome through it so far.
Cool. So, Chris, you mentioned that you guys started doing the show about a month ago at the time that we’re taping this right now. But I want to go back a little bit further. Just take us through kind of quickly. Like, what was it like when you first got this diagnosis and what was your sort of reaction to all of this? It had to be obviously life changing in a way.
Yeah, absolutely. And I would think that our kind of IBNR was almost like a soul crushing kind of diagnosis that you get because I was twenty nine years old when I got diagnosed, and I’m 31 right now. And most people that do become diagnosed with less are between 50 to 70 years old. So you there people a little bit later. So as a 29 year old and really flip your life upside down because you hear the word tell us and for those that don’t know by that, they know degenerative disease that takes away your ability to walk, to speak and eventually breathe.
And it’s always fatal with a prognosis of two to five years with no treatment or care at this time. So it really shook everything up for me. But I would say that I am a person that takes the positive and silver linings of everything all the time. So no matter what wrong, I mean, I’m bounced back. So it’s very quick that I would tell you the next day or so. After all my though and kind of a whirlwind of emotions, I thought, well, I’ll write this diagnosis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean my life’s over.
I still got a whole living and do and a whole lot more to see and experience, so. That tough initial response, I would say, kind of went away because I wasn’t going to let me let it stop me or define me and make me think bad about how awesome 29 years of I still got far more great and maybe 10 more minutes than one.
I mean, I’m assuming, Taylor, your you say fiancee or wife or girlfriend. Fiance, fiance. Now, I’m assuming obviously she’s been very supportive. We heard her in the beginning there helping you get set up and everything like that. So I know she’s doing great and, you know, kicking ass with you. And obviously, Nathaniel here is on a mission to preserve your voice and share more time with you and be a good friend. Was it like that across the board?
Was the response from friends and family mostly positive, or were there any breakdowns in relationships that happen when everything changed?
No, everything was positive across the board. And I think what’s crazy is I’ve had people that I knew in elementary school, middle school to me that haven’t talked to in years and mentioned how they’ve remembered me and how positively impacted their life, which kind of blew me away because I was like, oh, you still remember me from that long ago back in middle school, elementary school. But it’s been very positive across the board. People are always willing to offer a hand and want to help out in any way they can.
And I did my well, I guess like people care about me and love me and it really showed and really hit home. So I’m lucky. I tell you, man, I have amazing people surrounding me. So they really make this happen. This should is the disease. Some that I know I can take on now because all the support, I’m really, really glad to hear that.
I think right now we’re living in a world with a lot of shittiness. And I think it’s easy for people to write each other off and to not be empathetic and sympathetic. And I’m so glad to hear that your network has rallied around you and has come back and has been even closer and supportive. I’m very, very glad to hear that. I know it’s only been a month, and so it’s tough to really have a lot of data. But has anybody reached out specifically because of what you’ve done on the podcast with Bethania?
Yes, we have had some people from high school and on message or call us, and some of the parties have kind of been about I feel like I’m right there with you guys just relaxing, hanging out, talking until really made them feel like they’re with their with us. And it was one big and big time with this thing out, having some fun, tell some good stories and reminiscing with I can’t wait for anything. But whenever I hear those from people, I just lit up because I just thought, man, how you never think you could impact someone in that way.
The way the thing we have some people so far.
Have you found also that there’s been a raising of awareness around ALS, what exactly it is and what anybody can do to support either you or maybe somebody else that they know that might be fighting it?
I think that there’s been a lot more of awareness for it because I’ve heard stories where our friend will share our podcast or our little documentary. We have a new team with the entire family and just moved. Their whole family was and they have no clue who I am. I never met me. But then they are inspired in some way because of how this disease takes so long. But it’s not taking then everything. And I want to learn it. So I don’t find that.
And and one other one that my uncle has shared with me, which really hit close to home, was he has taken some our podcast and video to his aid groups, and it has inspired people there to really push to our times and be able to be grateful for what they have and really appreciate the support groups they have within their group. So that is one I never saw coming. And I guess it made me think the. What the is that people can take them from and it can be relatable to the amazing thing that I could appear this on both sides, those actually directly affected by that.
Yeah, that’s been awesome. Something beyond ever imagined to that is really cool.
So many of the people that I talked to for cause pods talk about, you know, the struggle to get people to tune in because typically. Right, if you’re not fighting cancer, then why are you listening to a cancer podcast? Or if you don’t think you’re dealing with depression, why would you listen to a podcast about depression? But to hear that your journey and your positivity and your perseverance is helping a completely unrelated group of folks who could use a good lift.
That’s just so, so awesome. Were you surprised to hear that that was happening with with the show? Yeah, definitely.
Just hearing this story from Chris about the AA meeting and his message being shared there was very inspiring and definitely did not expect that at the least. I really just expected people that we know that we grew up with to maybe tune in here and there. But I knew Chris and his positivity. It spreads the way he is portraying his message is completely through positivity. And you can’t really go wrong with that.
I couldn’t agree with that more. I mean, I literally started talking to you guys, you know, looking at the counter. We’ve been recording for about 20 minutes here. I spoke to you for about two minutes before we even hit the record. And right away, I could just tell from Chris that your attitude is that of positivity here with them.
I think part of it is big because life continued, life goes on. But you have to learn how to adapt to things. And there is always a situation that could be worse. So they never have the mindset to get you to so many things where it’s about their work or you’re having a fight with the significant other. If you’re, in my opinion, take a step back and look at all the great things that are around I supposed negatives because, boy, I tell you, if you want to spiral down and be sad and be positive and negative, you can do it.
You’re going to have a great time with no one else. Or you can be happy, have a good time, smile a little bit of a goofball and people can compare to to find out I’m being myself and I know people painting me, but I think that like me a little bit, I love that, especially in the world that we’re living in today with how hard it is to cope with the pandemic and the sheltering and the protesting and the infighting and everything else.
You know, we could use a lot more positivity. So I hope that, like what your uncle is doing, we could spread this to even more folks that need that positivity, even if they’re not thinking about specifically the battle against ISIS, although we’re going to talk about it the minute we should be talking. You know, we should be thinking about that as well. Like you said about that positivity, I could totally understand what you were saying earlier where your friends feel like it’s just the hang, right.
You and Nathaniel just chilling out in the back seat of their car. They’re driving down the road and it’s probably like nothing ever changed. Like you’re still just in high school goofing off and you two are just back there, happens to be recorded, but everybody gets to enjoy it.
And that’s absolutely correct. And yeah, it just kind of has found its way through the microphone into people’s phones, their car stereos, and really they them come forward how we’re so pleased and so happy that we’re able to do that for people. It’s a really cool feeling then. No, no. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words with a podcast and how terrible the spread to people that a good one. I talked with them actually the first time we made our first podcast.
We get five people to listen or maybe a million. And I said, well, I’ll take five. And those my be the painfully forced to listen to us. Well, I think they’ll like it. This is kind of crazy how it’s been more than that, actually. And it’s so, again, how we all kind of up and people are just finding something that attracts them to a podcast and they continue to play and listen. I mean, whenever we put out a new envelopes, you know, I always tell clients and anybody else that I’m talking to you that you should podcast is if only one other person is listening or frankly, do it as if nobody else is going to listen.
And it sounds like you have that exact attitude. So I love it. I’m super happy for you guys that you guys just get to enjoy yourselves and bring a little life and positivity and good vibes to others in the world. So let’s talk a little bit. You know, we always talk to folks about what charity they are supporting. In your case, we have a go fund me specifically here. For Chris, it’s Becket’s battle. We will put a link in the show.
Notes, of course, encourage everyone to donate even if you can’t donate a lot. Look, these things, it helps Chris and it helps Taylor and it helps Alex. Looks like he’s the organizer of this one. The more people that give, even if it’s just a couple of dollars, the more it’s going to get elevated by the platform and so more people will see it. So please, if you’re hearing this, click on the link, give a little support to help with Beckett’s battle.
But tell us a little bit about what we’re raising money for and you know what that money is going to be used for.
Absolutely. So with us, it’s one of those diseases that really takes a toll on everyone around. You know, the person with ALS, but family member sick and others. And with us, there currently is no treatment available that can care. And but they do have a few medicines out there that do help maybe prolong life for a month or two, as I have been informed. But the big thing is with our lives, as your body deteriorate and as you get a tracheotomy, which is going to be your breathing without the chest and breathe for you, because at some point I will be unable to breathe on my own.
And with the tracheotomy, it’s going to require 24 hours a day care because I will have to have some somebody around me around the clock to to that the device, the breathing, that there are no issues coming along and then the complications and the cost of the suction because the tracheotomy would put in there will be a miracle pill. So a big part of the funds are just strictly to care, because if someone were to get a full time 24 hour care giving team, what could be four or five people that can get pretty pricey and came in to the two hundred thousand dollars a year, which it’s so absurd that we have to put a price tag on wanting to stay alive when you mentally all there, but you essentially completely trapped within your own body and paralyzed, not being able to move without your eyes and thinking and just dreaming about everything else in your mind so that the big thing with wonder and kind of how we’re protect and look at how we can best tackle this with the care.
Yeah, I don’t want to go too deep down that rabbit hole.
I would be seething with anger, talking about our medical institutions and the way we are treated, or as you sort of sort of pointed out, the way we are not treated and not taken care of.
But this is positivity. So let’s stay on the positive note and and we’ll we’ll fight the battle of better health care tomorrow.
Absolutely. So you also you guys put together a little documentary. We’ll put a link to that. What’s that all about?
So that documentary is about me and my fiance, and we just kind of open up about what else is and kind of tap into our love story because he look at it, this disease is not one for the faint of heart or one there’s a good outcome. So to see two people like me and Taylor, how much we love each other, wanting to stick it out together had to big commitment. And then I tell you, that woman is amazing.
She is amazing. Love, rock, they’re everything to me. So we we talk about that and then kind of the challenges we’re up against with health and being able to explain to people what else is because people don’t know, I’m sure do my thing like a lot of people are familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge and then Alice a little bit. But get. Went on as to why did this and put a visualization to so people can see it on with their lives and understand a little bit kind of how progress is so the turmoil and tell our friends and family and more people who have caught on to and started watching may have repeated a few of my monologue jokes.
And so I have to lie to them. I just calm down a little bit.
And Chris, before I let you guys go and we wrap this up, you were telling me earlier that you’ve got another effort underway right now. What’s this all about? Yeah, that’s correct. So one a good friend of mine is a marathon runner, and he was just so inspired and kind of one to be able to show his love and how he could help. So his idea was, well, why not push Chris in the marathon? So he has helped raise funds with his wife and to his family and friends.
So we’ve got everything doing now and we’ll be going after our first marathon, which will be the marathon and I believe February. And the goal after that is to qualify for all the big six marathon to Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, and to be able to spread our awareness that way and show everyone that health is not something that’s going to stop us or stop me from being a competitive athlete. So we’re trying to act and I think we’re going to try to break the world record of two hours and 57 minutes.
I’m sorry, Bobby.
I put it on to Earth, so we got to do it now that you just got to put it out there and we’ll have a link. You guys will send me some links or whatnot. We’ll put in the show notes here. So folks who want to support you guys in this effort can get involved, too. Yes, absolutely. We will. Well, again, we are going to put links to the documentary. We’re going to put links to the Go Fund Me page.
We’re going to have all the links to the podcast on Instagram, has some great photos under the Instagram profiles, Becket’s battle, Nathaniel Dopp alone and Chris Beckett, all one word.
That’s Becky TTG for Beckett in this case. But before I let you both go, Nathaniel, just because you had never done this before and because you’re doing this for probably a different reason than most others would even think about it, what would be your advice? What would be your guidance to the next person who is looking to start a podcast, looking to tell their story or somebody else’s story, anything that you can help them with, any lessons you learned along the way?
Honestly, I’d say from the start, I know what you’re going to talk about. Chris and I both have had moments where we hop on and we don’t know what we’re really going to talk about. And then we spend 30 minutes trying to decide what to talk about before we even start taking the time to prepare and jot down your notes for what your topics are going to be. Definitely will help move you forward faster and get your podcast going.
I love it. And Chris, of course, that question to you, a man, is what would be your advice to somebody coming along who wants to start a podcast, who wants to get their story out there, get their voice out there and get people to enjoy what they’re doing and do a second one? And they said, but I will also add to it and be willing to put himself out there, put two views out there, your experiences in motion, because then you start to realize with whatever information you’re bringing, it will attract people and people will see a common bond and find you relatable, which everything about who I want to take on the podcast in the beginning when to who they are so pissed off and just let it flow.
Don’t try to. And then I find I come to. Not as good as you might want.
I like that advice. I really do. Well, again, everyone on the show is born to Battleborn, the number two battle. You will find a link to it on Apple and Spotify right here in the show. Notes link directly to their site on Buspar. Watch the documentary. Follow them on Instagram. Please, please, please check out the Go Fund Me page. I know things are tough right now. Everyone’s struggling a little bit, but if you have it, even if it’s just a couple of dollars, just to get more names on the wall, more people showing their support for Chris and his battle, please.
Throw a few bucks their way and see what you can do to help Chris and his wonderful fiancee, Taylor Nathaniel Chris, this was not the conversation that I was expecting when I saw who I was chatting with tonight. But I am so delighted that you were both here able to tell your story. I am so delighted that I’m able to play just a small role in preserving Chris’s voice as well. The way that you’re doing, Nathaniel. And it’s just been an honor and a pleasure, gentlemen, to get to know both of you.
And Chris, thanks so much for joining me.
Cosponsored a thank you, Mathew. We really appreciate your time. And again, the more we could spread awareness of ALS and spread Chris’s story, especially with the positivity, the better we can we can do for everyone.
And Mathew, thank you. Might appreciate it. And much love, but love.
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