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This Holiday Season, area residents are asked to consider helping community supporters raise money for a local family.
Rob Reinhold, 42, who was born and raised in the Culver area, moved back to Culver with his wife, Rhonda to raise their young daughter, Reilly. Reinhold was diagnosed with severe, debilitating ALS last September and his health has quickly deteriorated.
This fall, Reilly worked hard, in conjunction with teachers, fellow students, and the principal (besides the community itself) to raise money to fight ALS by creating a fundraising ‚Äúpajama day‚ÄĚ at her Culver Elementary School.
That event inspired many in the community, but specifically Dawn Brockey, owner of the Culver Coffee Company on Lake Shore Drive, and husband Larry Brockey, whose Brockey Insurance is right next door.
‚ÄúOur goal,‚ÄĚ says Dawn, ‚Äúis to help provide this family with funds for (Rob‚Äôs) health care and simple comforts. All proceeds will go directly to home health care for Rob.‚ÄĚ
The benefit will take place Saturday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Mystic Hills Golf Course. There will be a hog roast, and $20 per person includes dinner, music, one drink, and entry into a raffle. A silent auction will be held during the hours of the event, at Mystic Hills.
Tickets will be sold at Culver Coffee Company, Michelle‚Äôs Headquarters, and Brockey Insurance. Checks should be made payable to ‚ÄúWesley United Methodist/Reinhold Benefit.‚ÄĚ
Those wishing to help or give a donation should contact Dawn and Larry Brockey at 219-670-5584 or 574-933-1100, or or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixth grader Reilly Reinhold of Culver has a special connection to her recent fundraising project: She‚Äôs raising money for the ALS Association (alsa.org), to fight the disease which has rapidly altered the life of her father, Culver Community High School graduate Rob Reinhold.
Reilly‚Äôs Culver Elementary teacher, Missy Trent, says the 11-year-old‚Äôs endeavor began as part of what has become an annual requirement ‚ÄĒ now in its third year ‚ÄĒ for students in Trent‚Äôs reading class: a community service project, to be completed by spring.
Readers may be familiar with the irrepressible Trent for her involvement in the 6th grade‚Äôs annual ‚ÄúSoup for the Soul‚ÄĚ charity fund-raiser, and her efforts to raise funds for a Culver high school student who lost both parents.
Initially, says Trent, Reilly Reinhold‚Äôs project with fellow student Mackenzie Barnhart revolved around a ‚Äúpajama day‚ÄĚ in which each student would pay $1 to wear pajamas to school, as a means of raising money towards a charitable goal.
‚ÄúI said, ‚ÄėReilly, there‚Äôs a cause that should be touching your heart,‚Äô and she said, ‚ÄėALS,‚Äô‚ÄĚ recalls Trent. ‚ÄúI said, ‚ÄėYou have to realize this is going to put you out there. Are you able to talk about a personal thing that‚Äôs going on in your life? She said, ‚ÄėYeah.‚Äô She‚Äôs very strong. I told her people will want to know what ALS is, so she would need to research it. She said, ‚ÄėI already know what it is.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
For those who do not, ALS ‚ÄĒ formerly known as Lou Gehrig‚Äôs Disease for the baseball player who died from it in 1941 ‚ÄĒ stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ‚Äúa progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord,‚ÄĚ according to the ALS Association website. ‚ÄúThe progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to (patients‚Äô) death...and with voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.‚ÄĚ Though Trent points out there have been major strides and breakthroughs of late in fighting the disease.
Reilly‚Äôs family, which includes mom Rhonda and brothers Michael and Anthony found out about dad Rob‚Äôs ALS last year on Sept. 20. Since then, she says, there has been a been a quick progression of the disease, which has left him wheelchair-bound.
‚ÄúLast year at this time,‚ÄĚ recalls Reilly, ‚Äúhe was riding a bike. When we moved (to a new house) in November, he was fine, and now he‚Äôs in a wheelchair.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI wanted to work harder,‚ÄĚ she says of one of the effects the news has had on her, ‚Äúto make him proud. I wanted him to know everything‚Äôs okay, and I work my hardest.‚ÄĚ
She adds the illness also ‚Äúbrought everybody (in the family) a lot closer together. That‚Äôs one of the only good things that‚Äôs come out of this.‚ÄĚ
One early challenge to Reilly‚Äôs project was approval for the ‚Äúpajama day‚ÄĚ concept.
‚ÄúI said, ‚ÄėMr. Kitchell (CES principal) will never agree to a pajama day,‚Äô‚ÄĚ says Trent. ‚ÄúHe never has, but they kept begging me, so I said, ‚ÄėGo ask him,‚Äô and he said yes. We were all excited.
‚ÄúChuck has always been extremely encouraging and supportive (of service projects),‚ÄĚ Trent continues. ‚ÄúWhenever my students ask to do a service project, he always says yes. I think it shows that he also cares about these kids doing these projects.‚ÄĚ
The students, working with Trent and CES art teacher Joyce Lyman, worked up a flyer to hang around the school and send home with students, and Reilly read about the project over the school‚Äôs announcements. A McDonald‚Äôs gift card was arranged as a prize for a drawing for anyone donating more than $1.
The pajama day took place Oct. 19.
‚ÄúI can‚Äôt believe the outpouring of money and everything,‚ÄĚ Trent says, noting as of pajama day, $1,066 has been collected, after just a week of efforts.
‚ÄúI was really surprised how much money we‚Äôve raised,‚ÄĚ agrees Reilly. ‚ÄúI thought we‚Äôd make about $600. My dad‚Äôs friend, Chris Chambers called all his employees (at Rideon Bicycles on Lake Shore Drive), and they‚Äôre all wearing pajamas today. It feels like everybody knows about it. My mom and grandma have gotten calls.‚ÄĚ
Trent says the project will be kept open for the time being, should anyone wish to donate towards it, which can be done at the Culver Elementary office.
‚ÄúA lot of people know her dad, and we‚Äôre all rooting for him and hoping for the best,‚ÄĚ she adds.
‚ÄúMost of the students at school have been really supportive,‚ÄĚ Reilly says. ‚ÄúThey tell me they‚Äôre going to donate more than a dollar and ask how my dad is, and say, ‚ÄėI hope he‚Äôs doing good.‚Äô A lot of people know about it, so a lot of people from our church (Wesley United Methodist in Culver) have been bringing in dinner and stuff, and people have been coming and visiting.
‚ÄúI hope the money helps speed up the process of them finding treatment or a cure,‚ÄĚ she adds, ‚Äúor helps other people with ALS. It could be a future thing.‚ÄĚ
Reilly wants people to know her father is ‚Äústill the same person, just in a different state.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs really proud of me (for the fundraiser). He says it‚Äôs a good thing and hopefully it will make a big difference in the process of helping them find a treatment or a cure.‚ÄĚ