Benefit raises more than $7K for ALS victim

Published 8:05 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dozens of hungry mouths, helping hands and open pockets gathered at Green’s Bar-B-Q Pit Tuesday night for a spaghetti supper and fund-raising event geared to help neighbors in need.

Keith Shiver, a Gantt resident who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease more than a year ago, has been unable to attend his former job as a foreman for Newell Construction Company. His wife, Lynn, quit work to help him with the daily challenges brought forth by his affliction.

Both Keith and Lynn were hesitant to ask for help at first, but rising medical expenses, the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van and plans to modify their home for wheelchair accessibility lead to a need for help.

Juanita Bowers, Keith’s mother, organized the event in hopes that it would provide a small amount of assistance for the struggling family. No one in the family expected to receive such overwhelming support from the community, according to Lynn.

“We had a lot of people come out,” she said. “It was wonderful. It is good to know you have family and friends. We raised more than $7,000.

“Keith was overwhelmed,” she added. “It made him feel good to know he had friends and family who cared enough to come out and donate their time and money.

Lynn said the money will be a good start for their plans to make improvements to their home, which might not have been possible without the support of the community.

“I want to thank everyone who helped and everyone who came out,” she said. “There are no words that can describe how much it means to me.

“A woman, who had read the article in the Star-News, called from California to tell us about how someone she knew had been diagnosed with ALS, but actually had lyme disease,” she added. “She referred us to an article online. It is just amazing how many people have responded.”

Margaret Worley, lifetime friend of the family and a member of the Red Hat Society, said several businesses and individuals made the spaghetti supper possible including the women’s Sunday school class at Southside Baptist Church, Cost Plus, Winn Dixie, Wal-Mart, Larry Craig donated bread from Colonial, Hilltop Meat Company, Gator Grocery, Green’s Bar-B-Q Pit and numerous donations from the community.

“We had a fantastic night,” she said. “A lot of people just stopped by to donate money on their way through.

“I have worked at a lot of benefits, but I have never seen anything like this,” she added. “People flooded into the parking lot. It was amazing. We had to go buy supplies several times and begin working again. We had people parked all along the highway and some people even parked across the street.”