SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - Lying in a bed inside a South Bay nursing home, Bernie Dalton lies prisoner to a disease that relentlessly shuts down his body. .
Dalton communicates electronically. It's like texting with his eyes.His mind is sharp as ever and he knows what he's facing.
"A.L.S.," he says.
Doctors diagnosed Dalton with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease in 2016.
The worst part of it he says: "It's very hard to watch loved ones deal."
Dalton has a 16-year-old daughter who brings out his smile instantly.
"He always has an upbeat spirit for anything bad that comes along. I love that about him," says Nicole Dalton, his daughter.
Before ALS Dalton was a surfer who cleaned swimming pools, while helping raise Nicole in San Mateo County.
But once the diagnosis came Dalton decided he wanted leave something behind for Nicole and perhaps his future grandkids. He wanted to make a record album of songs he would write.
He enlisted his former vocal coach and professional singer Essence Goldman to help him.
"Bernie asked me to be his voice," said Essence.
Goldman got some musicians and raised money for recording studio time. Dalton provided lyrics.
"These words express his view of the world, advice for living. His values. They're very down to earth," said Goldman.
During the recording sessions, Dalton would give thumbs up if he liked what he heard. His thumb is one of the few things he can still move.The 10-song album is called "Connection". It comes out February 9th.
"Felt normal. Forgot about A.L.S," Dalton said about making the recordings.
Nicole knows after her dad is gone, his songs will remain.
"It means a lot to me to know that he is going to have something personal for me throughout my life, and my kids when I do have them," said Nicole.
"I hope people hear the story and realize every moment is precious. Every day is precious," said Essence.
Goldman has started a gofundme page. She hopes to raise $300,000 so Dalton can leave the nursing home and live in a real home with 24-hour care.
"We're raising money to send Bernie home," said Essence.
Dalton is proud of his record. He hopes those who listen will hear his message.
"Anything is possible," said Dalton.
A.L.S. may be claiming Bernie Dalton's body, but not his heart.