Colleagues raising funds for local architect with Lou Gehrig's disease
Recently a Portland architect named Harper Bates, who works at Holst Architecture was diagnosed with Lou Gherig's Gehrig's disease. Officially known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a motor neuron disease, it strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. Unfortunately, the average life expectency for ALS patients is about five years (although obviously people like Stephen Hawking have defied the odds.) And Harper received his ALS diagnosis just after he and his wife Amie (who is also an architect, working for THA Architecture) welcomed their first child.
The architectural community here in Portland is trying to help. I was contacted by Mike Meade, a coworker of Amy's, who is part of a group of people at both offices who are involved with organizing a fundraising and ALS awareness-raising bike ride on October 2nd - this Friday - called Red Wigs On Bikes. The money will go towards the eventual gap in income created when Harper will no longer be fit enough to work but not unemployed long enough to collect benefits, as well as toward an effort to make Amie and Harper's house more wheelchair friendly.
Participants encouraged to wear red wigs and go along for the ride, but if anyone in your party is unable to bike, there will be a walking group as well. Also, Mississippi Pizza and Laughing Planet will increase their donations if their sales surpass average Friday night levels.
The direct way to help, though, is to make a donation. That can be done via Paypal here, or by means of a check (made out to Harper or Amie Bates) and delivered to THA Architecture or Holst Architecture. If you'd prefer to make a tax deductible donation, that can be made to the ALS Association - although then it won't directly benefit Harper and Amie.
Besides Lou Gehrig, the Hall of Fame Yankees baseball great, ALS has cut short the lives of other such notable and courageous individuals as Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, and Sesame Street creator Jon Stone as well as musicians Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter), Charles Mingus, and Dimitri Shostakovich.