Communities in Westchester are rallying in support of a Bronxville native who has received a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A fundraising campaign has been started for Chris Thalacker, who was diagnosed with ALS last July and is already beginning to see some of the debilitating effects of the disease, which “robs its victims of the ability to walk, dress themselves, talk, swallow, and ultimately breathe, all the while leaving their minds intact.”
Thalacker has already lost most of the use of his left arm, and approximately 60 percent of the use of his right. There is no cure for ALS, though research has made small improvements to improve the quality of life of the victims. The average person diagnosed with ALS is expected to die within five years of their initial diagnosis.
“I am not sure what my journey will bring as every individual’s progression of the disease is different. This situation leaves a lot of unknowns for me and my family,” Thalacker said. “But rest assure I am focused on doing whatever I can to fight this disease and to prolong the progression to its more debilitating stages.
“As many know, I have a passion for life. As difficult and sad the diagnosis is, I remain quite positive, gathering strength from the outpouring of love and well wishes from my family and friends.”
In response to the diagnosis, friends, family, and members of the community are rallying behind Thalacker, with a series of planned events and a GoFundMe fundraising campaign set up, as medical costs are expected to cost upwards of $300,000 per year, most of which encompass the ventilation, feeding tube and in-home care and are not covered by insurance. The family is also expected to incur the costs of moving to a new home that can accommodate his disease.
As of Monday, March 19, $42,986 of the stated $300,000 goal had been raised by 103 people in 10 days. Other fundraising events include a cocktail party fundraiser on May 12 at Siwanoy Country Club and a golf tournament at Siwanoy on June 12. Those interested in participating can sign up online.
“No one knows how long I will be able to fight this disease, but I am assuming I’ll battle it longer than the average person and be here for another 10 (or more) years, leaving a tremendous financial burden on me and my family,” Thalacker added. “Your contributions will allow me to face this sad and difficult disease with dignity and pride.”
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