The phenomenon started in 1999 on a Saturday morning on the made for kids TV network Nickelodeon. I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. Who could create something entertaining for kids based on a sponge?

As I sat and watched my kids watching the show it didn't take me long to realize that this quirky cartoon was going to be a pretty big deal.

The show is SpongeBob Squarepants and the creator of that show Stephen Hillenburg was the man behind the "pineapple under the sea". Yesterday Hillenburg announced through an interview with Variety Magazine that he had been diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

That disease is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It earned that moniker when the great New York Yankees baseball player announced that he was suffering from the malady in the early 1900's.

In more recent years, fans of the New Orleans Saints have come to know more about the disease through the efforts of Steve Gleason. Gleason is a former Saints player and also suffers from the disease.

In the article in Variety Hillenberg stated that he planned to go on working for as long as he is able. Many of you might not know that before creating SpongeBob Hillenberg was and still is a marine biologist. Which is why the show, SpongeBob Squarepants might seem quirky but is actually quite factual in many areas.

While I first thought the show was strange and not really that funny, I have grown to love SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, and even Squidward and Plankton. They made my kids laugh and even today on car trips we play SpongeBob trivia to pass the time.

I have never met Mr. Hillenberg but I feel as if I might know him. His unique sense of humor and compassionate characters have always given me cause to want to visit Bikini Bottom. Of course, I'd have to stay in Sandy's treedome because I would be a "landy" as well.