Carl represents everything that we want VisuALS to be. Our mission is to love our neighbors by restoring independence, dignity and hope through affordable assistive technology solutions. Carl truly showed us how to live out the first part of our mission, which is to “love our neighbors”. We are truly thankful for Carl and all that he meant to us. It is in his honor that we have created this fund to help others regain the ability to communicate with those that they love.
Who Is Carl?
Carl Phelps was a former educator, successful businessman, referee & Oklahoma State fanatic. More importantly, he was a loving friend, loving family member, loving husband & a loving Christian. Carl was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 and is the 9th in his family to have been diagnosed with the disease. We met Carl in January of 2017 at the Oklahoma City ALS support group, and it was at that support group, after encountering Carl, that we realized that we needed to create a business around the student project called VisuALS. Carl, not being able to speak for an entire year, didn’t want to leave that night without a VisuALS system, saying, “I’m not giving this back until you can tell me when I can have my own.” Having gained a new friend and seeing the need and enthusiasm for our VisuALS system, Carl became our first beta tester.
Over the next several months, Carl gave us invaluable feedback. His first feedback was a small request to add a page that included needs and feelings phrases. He quickly became an expert at using our system, but he was frustrated that he wasn’t able to take the system with him, since it only worked on a big monitor. So we made it portable. We were able to get the software to scale to a tablet computer that he could then mount on his wheel chair. One of the last features Carl helped us improve was the notepad. Carl was most definitely a writer and he wanted to be able to express longer thoughts, write prayers, and even type out speeches. We were able improve the notepad for Carl, enabling him to record and save notes, which he used until he passed. In fact, just a little over a week before he passed, Carl used the notepad to create this incredible speech at our launch party (see below) and he also used it to type out a prayer that he was supposed to lead at his Church congregation on the Sunday morning following his death, which they were still able to play out loud.
Carl had a radiating personality. He was a smart, fun, and caring man and it was our privilege to give him a voice to express his love for Janice and his family, which he did extremely well. In fact, he did it so well, that national media platforms such as the Today Show, Inside Edition, ALS News Today and others all featured his story. This catapulted awareness for our affordable solution and has helped us reach an audience that we wouldn’t have been able to reach with out him and his wife Janice.
Carl showed us how to be a better neighbor and to love everyone unconditionally. We love Carl and Janice and we have named this fund in honor of them. Every dollar contributed will go towards providing VisuALS systems to our neighbors who need them. If you need a solution you can create a crowdfunding campaign, which will allow family, friends and strangers to donate towards your system. The Carl Fund will help close the gap for those whose own crowdfunding campaigns have come up short of their goal.
(Not Tax Deductible and Non-Refundable)