MIDDLE POINT — A local family has organized an event this weekend to raise money and awareness for ALS research while honoring a man who is battling the disease.
The ALS Ride for Kevin Thatcher will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rambler’s Roost Truck Stop in Middle Point. Participants may ride motorcycles, tractors, combines, semi-trucks and cars, or walk/run the approximately three miles past Thatcher’s house and back to the truck stop.
Thatcher was diagnosed with ALS in March, and since that time his health has faded rapidly, said Thatcher’s son, Kory.
ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes progressive muscle weakness that is fatal.
Around two weeks ago, Thatcher’s family attended an ALS event in Columbus. Afterward, the Thatchers decided to host their own event so that the community could show their support while helping raise money for research.
“We were like, ‘there’s a lot of people back home who’d like to do this to show their support,’ so that’s when we organized it,” Kory Thatcher said. “He’ll be sitting sitting outside so when people go by they can honk and wave, and just show that they’re thinking about him.”
Kory Thatcher said he is also hoping to raise “quite a bit of money” from the event, along with educating the public about the need for donations to ALS research.
“I know how hard it’s been for our family, and I would not want to wish this on anybody,” he said. “Hopefully someday they can find a cure because there’s literally no treatment at all.”
The ride/walk costs $10 per person, and donations will be accepted throughout the event. “Team Kevin” T-shirts are also available for $15, but Kory Thatcher said supplies are very limited. He said they have sold around 500 shirts so far, and have around 25 left.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Playing Hardball against ALS, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Jennings. According to the PHAALS website, its mission it to “enrich the lives of families stricken with ALS and provide them with the physical, emotional and financial support they deserve.” A portion of the funds also goes to ALS research.
There is no pre-registration required for Saturday’s ride/walk.
“All anybody has to do is show up, get signed in, pay $10 and they can participate,” Kory Thatcher said.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima