Fighting ALSGAMBIER, Ohio (February 2, 2010) The fight against "Lou Gehrig's Disease" comes to the Village Inn in Gambier with a benefit auction and live music on Friday.
The benefit event honors Thomas S. Turgeon, Kenyon professor emeritus of drama, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Elaine Gray, who succumbed to ALS in 2006. Gray's stepson, Kenyon senior Nathaniel Gray of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, initiated the benefit with the help of other Kenyon students.
All proceeds will be donated to the ALS Association, which conducts programs in advocacy, community and patient services, education and research. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. "There is a dire need to find a cure, determine the cause and provide better treatment for patients diagnosed with ALS," Gray said.
The event begins at 4:00 p.m. with an extended Happy Hour that continues until 9:00 p.m. and includes an auction of baked goods from Crazy Cat Farm prepared by Associate Professor of Drama Andrew Reinert, memorabilia from baseball executive and Kenyon parent Billy Beane, and other items at the 102 Gaskin Ave. restaurant. Jonathan Tazewell, Thomas S. Turgeon Associate Professor of Drama at Kenyon, will conduct the auction at 7:00 p.m.
A donated cover charge of $3 will be asked for the performance of the Motown Band, comprised of Kenyon students, at 10:00 p.m. The Motown Band, which includes Gray on tenor saxophone, will be followed at midnight by disc jockeys DJ LAZ and Bustin.
The Village Inn that night will ask patrons to add a donation to their bills, and the staff will contribute a portion of their tips to the cause, co-owner Jerry Kelly said. The request for help from students was "really compelling," Kelly said, and the event contributes "to the sense of community here."
Thomas Turgeon's wife, Margaret Turgeon, said her husband's spirits are good. They are "very touched and pleased" about the event. "The people in this community are just so thoughtful and helpful. We're lucky to live here," Margaret Turgeon said. "We're thankful that Nate (Gray) is doing this in honor of his stepmother, as well. I just think it's wonderful."
Donations can also be made to the ALS Association in the names of Turgeon and Gray at http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/Events/NationalOffice?pxfid=160831&pg=fund&fr_id=1460. For more information about the event contact Laule'a Gorden-Kuehn at firstname.lastname@example.org and 740-427-6092.