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By DAVE TAYLOR
Landmark Community Newspapers
BEDFORD, Ky. – The Bob’s Bunch Benefit to raise money for ALS research, held Saturday at the Morgan Community Center has been labeled a smashing success by event coordinators.
“Bob’s Bunch Battling ALS” was organized last year by Bedford resident Diane McKinney, whose husband, Bob, was diagnosed with the disease in 2009.
“We raised $15,545 in just that one day,” Diane McKinney said Monday. “We were well pleased at how well the community came out and supported the event.”
The fund-raiser was originally scheduled for March 3 but the tornado that struck the Milton Fire Station No. 2 on the day before forced the cancellation of that event. Despite heavy rains, which swept through Trimble County periodically on Saturday, the event at the community center drew tremendous support. McKinney said she and fellow organizers estimated about 600 people were in attendance at various times throughout the day.
Fundraising efforts were highlighted by an auction and gun raffle, the two most popular attractions of the event. The event also featured a yard sale and barbecue luncheon.
“The weather might have actually been in our favor,” McKinney said, “because some people weren’t able to have yard sales or do other activities outdoors.”
Numerous volunteers sporting “Bob’s Bunch” t-shirts scurried about throughout the day selling raffle tickets, serving meals, signing up walkers for the upcoming Walk to Defeat ALS in Louisville next month and selling Volume 2 of the Bob’s Bunch Cookbook.
The only disappointing aspect of Saturday’s event, McKinney said, was the small number of people who signed up to participate in the annual walk.
“We had a team last year and it was really a great time of fellowship,” she said. “It’s held at the Papa John’s Headquarters in Louisville and it will be on Saturday, May 12, this year. Walkers get a nice breakfast and lunch and it’s just a great way for people to get together and have a good time for a good cause.”
Those interested in participating in the walk are encouraged to call McKinney at (502) 255-7255. The walk starts at 10 a.m. on May 12.
The auction began at noon and did not conclude until around 4 p.m. Carrollton auctioneer Danny Marsh volunteered his time and with his support staff “did a very professional job,” McKinney said. Auctioned goods included University of Kentucky and University of Louisville basketball collector items, NASCAR items, barn quilts, baked goods and numerous other items. The auction brought $8,890.
Among those attending the fundraiser was Jennifer Lepa, administrative project coordinator of the ALS Association’s Kentucky chapter.
“This is really exciting,” Lepa said of the turnout for the event. “I’ve really been looking forward to coming. These volunteers here in Trimble County have done an outstanding job!”
Bob’s Bunch battling ALS exists to bring continued awareness to the local region about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
ALS is an incurable fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness, resulting in paralysis, according to the ALS Association. The disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons, which control the movement of voluntary muscles, deteriorate and eventually die. When the motor neurons die, the brain can no longer initiate and control muscle movement. Because muscles no longer receive the messages they need in order to function, they gradually weaken and deteriorate.
Bob McKinney attended Saturday’s function and was able to stay through most of the event, but his wife said he gets fatigued sitting for long periods of time. Numerous classmates from the Trimble County High School Class of 1969 and other friends stopped by during the day to spend some time chatting with him.
“He really enjoyed it,” Diane McKinney said. “He was really tired but he enjoyed seeing everyone.”
Bob made the observation during one brief chat that he had been blessed with a wealth of friends.
“We really want to thank the community for how well they supported this,” Diane McKinney said Monday. “It was so successful we’re already planning to do it again next year. We’ve been talking about things we can do to make it even better.”
There are still a number of cookbooks on sale in various area businesses. More money is expected from that and sponsorships from the upcoming walk.
“I really think after May 12 we’ll be able to write a check for more than $20,000 from our group to go toward ALS research and medical trials like the one Bob is part of,” Diane McKinney said.
The group raised $11,800 a year ago.