Starting July 1 and continuing, each day, through Aug. 13, a different prize will be drawn during the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis calendar raffle, with all proceeds benefiting the Northern New England Chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.
According to information provided by raffle co-coordinators Cathy Billings, Michelle Libby and Donna Papa, all of Dedham, 44 local businesses have contributed prizes for this fundraiser that is being held in conjunction with the Walk to Beat ALS, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Hayford Park in Bangor.
This year’s walk is dedicated to the memory of Donna’s late husband, Ron Papa, who was 60 when he died of the disease, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in September 2009.
ALS calendar raffle tickets are $20 each and will be available for the remainder of the month at Designs by Donna on 47 Wilson St. in Brewer and The Lobster Institute, 210 Rogers Hall, University of Maine in Orono.
Tables specifically for ticket sales will also be set up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both Saturdays, June 18 and June 25, at Designs by Donna, or you can call 949-2028 for more information about how to purchase your tickets.
When the fundraiser began, Cathy told me, the coordinators set out to fill the July calendar but the response was so positive they were able to carry it into August.
“We were hoping to find enough for July and thought it would be quite a struggle to fill the calendar, but the outpouring of support was just incredible. We have a very generous community,” Cathy said, adding the response “far exceeded what we thought we would get, and the value of the prizes is amazing.”
The generosity of donors from Bangor to Bar Harbor is reflected in the prizes and, Cathy pointed out, each of the daily prizes exceeds the $20 value of the ticket purchase.
For example, the first drawing on July 1 is for two tickets to a show of your choice and VIP parking for the Bangor Waterfront Concert series.
The remaining daily prizes range from gift cards for restaurants, grocery and other stores to theater, movie and massage opportunities; lobsters, oil changes, overnight accommodations, prepaid debit cards, hairstyling and stained glass art.
And here is something I find quite unusual for a raffle of this sort: If your name is drawn as a prize winner, that’s not the end of your prize-winning opportunities.
Your ticket will be put back into the pool of tickets for the next drawing, and you have a chance to win again and again.
So, for just a $20 investment, you could, conceivably, win the whole thing.
Many of us know someone whose life has been directly, or indirectly, affected by ALS, as it has for the women coordinating this event.
“One thing we found as we pulled this raffle together,” Cathy said, was a surprising number of people “who had been touched by this disease,” including several donors who mentioned their connection to someone affected by ALS.
It is described in the information provided by the coordinators of this event as a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”
A local ALS support group, Cathy told me, meets 4-6 p.m the third Wednesday of each month at the Alpha One office located on Bangor Mall Boulevard.
More information also is available by calling Nell Davies, the Maine Care services coordinator for ALS Association Northern New England Chapter, at 894-5478 or toll-free at 866-257-6663.
To learn more about this organization, the upcoming walk or how you can avail yourself of services such as modifying your home and making accommodations for someone in your family with ALS, Cathy suggests you visit http://webnne.alsa.org.
Help is available to anyone, she said, anywhere in Maine, through the Northern New England Chapter of the ALS Association.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.