SHOPRITES: RAISED MONEY FROM CUSTOMER CONTRIBUTIONS
SUPPORT GROUP: ATTENDS TO THE NEEDS OF PATIENTS WITH ALS
January 26, 2008
By Jim McConville, Keyport Bureau
ABERDEEN — It starts in the extremities.
Then, it gradually weakens and eventually destroys your motor coordination, running from your brain down through your spinal cord.
In the last stages, you cannot move; you have essentially become a lucid mind trapped in a broken-down body.
Lou Gehrig’s disease
It is ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the Yankees baseball great who succumbed to ALS in 1941.
Until recently, ALS victims in central New Jersey had no genuine group to turn to for support and guidance. That changed in June 2006, when Joan Dancy of Middletown died of ALS at age 54.
Borne out of her struggles with ALS, Dancy nurtured a dream: to create a local support group to help others cope with this debilitating disease.
“Joan Dancy’s last wishes were that her fiance, Terry Magovern, use his influence to try to help other people who had the same problem that she did,” said Richard Saker, president and CEO of Saker ShopRite Inc., and friend of Dancy and Magovern.
A dream is realized
Dancy’s dream became reality when Magovern, 60, became founder and president of the Joan Dancy & PALS Support Group.
Meanwhile, Saker, 56, has raised more than $500,000 for the support group in the past two years, holding special events and orchestrating semi-annual fundraisers at his 27 stores.