The Union Recorder

July 26, 2013

Motorcycle Ride to benefit local ALS patient

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder


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.

“One of his sons wanted to try and get into college and the other wants to go into the military, but both of them have had to put those plans on the back burner so that their father can get round the clock care,” said Bonner.

Bonner encourages everyone to come out and support the motorcycle ride, but for those unable to make the event, donations are also welcomed. 

“There’s also a savings fund set up in order to help with the cause just in case you want to help but won’t be able to make it out to the ride,” said Bonner. 

The savings fund is set up in the name of Donald E. Roach Sr. ALS Fund at MidSouth Federal Credit Union. 

For more information about the motorcycle ride contact Brad Bonner at 478-251-3087 or Mike Smith at 478-451-2965. 

“He’s a good man with a bad disease, and we just want to do whatever we can to help him,” said Bonner. 

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition and view this full article.