Local resident Donald E. Roach Sr. was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, approximately two years ago. As the disease attacked his nerves and muscles, Roach became confined to a wheelchair.
His condition has made it hard for him to get around, even to participate in the simplest of tasks.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing.
In an effort to increase Roach’s mobility and allow him to continue to enjoy the activities that bring a smile to his face, his family and friends have organized a fundraising event, Motorcycle Ride for the Donald E. Roach Sr. ALS Fund, in his honor. The ride will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at starting at the Milledgeville Mall on North Columbia Street.
“Right now, he can’t even go to church like he wants to cause he can’t get his electric wheelchair in a vehicle to be able to go. Going to church was one of the little pleasures that always made me him feel good, and I hate to see that taken away from him along with his suffering,” said Roach’s nephew and event coordinator Brad Bonner.
All proceeds and donations from the motorcycle ride will go toward purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van for Roach.
The disease has affected everyone in the family. Roach’s two sons, Josh and Donald Jr., both in their early 20s, have had to adjust in order to give their father the care that he needs.