Supporting Matthew Northcutt: What is ALS?

The following was submitted by Peggy Olson.

ALS or Lou Gehrig Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70. At present, more than 16,500 Americans are living with ALS, for which there is no cure or treatment to halt the progression of the disease.

SYMPTOMS: Progressive loss of muscle control. ALS gradually prohibits the ability to WALK, GRASP OBJECTS, SWALLOW, BREATHE, SPEAK, and finally MOVE. The brain does not stop functioning.

Over 5,000+ people are diagnosed per year.
Only 10% of cases are inherited through a mutated gene, which means 90% occur without any family history.
Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed, and someone passes away from this disease.
Only 4 drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat ALS, but none will stop the progression.
Estimated cost to develop a drug to stop this progression is $2 BILLION.
High percentage of victims of ALS are VETERANS, regardless of branch of service or service in war or peacetime, and FOOTBALL PLAYERS are found to be affected.
FINALLY, the average life expectancy is 2 to 5 years.

Why is this information important to the Chapel in the Pines, the Fire Company, Harris Teeter, Kiwanis, and other local businesses and individuals to numerous to name? Because a young man, Matt Northcutt, 44, a long-time resident of Seven Lakes, with his wife Tammy and their three young children, 5, 7 and 9…is a victim of this disease that was diagnosed almost five years ago.

Matt, a First Responder volunteer in Seven Lakes for years, became one of the first policemen on the original Seven Lakes Police Force then joined the Fire Company, drove the ambulance, and finally, became an EMT. While a volunteer he was employed by the NC State Employment Security Commission working with farmers in up to five surrounding counties.

Matt was diagnosed with ALS almost five years ago while still an EMT and had to resign from a job he loved since he could no longer trust his legs to respond as needed. He continued to work for the State and eventually was given a handicapped-equipped van in order to continue working.  In June he had to resign from that job. Then Tammy, who worked for First Health Family Medicine in Seven Lakes, had to resign to assist Matt at home. This leaves them without an income, but with medical bills and living expenses for five. 
The Mission of the groups named above, along with area friends, neighbors and businesses is to assist Matt and his family with those medical bills by holding a “BENEFIT FOR MATT NORTHCUTT” on November 16th from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm, at the Chapel in the Pines. We will have Pulled Pork BBQ with sides, a BENEFIT CLASSIC CAR CRUISE-IN, and the MCKENZIE BROTHERS BAND playing, all for a $10 ticket.

In addition, we are holding a RAFFLE with prizes including a YETI TUNDRA WHEELED COOLER, a SPARTINA PURSE, and CALLAWAY GOLF EQUIPMENT;
a SILENT AUCTION with BASKETS and GIFT CERTIFICATES from local merchants and golf courses, and a 50/50 DRAWING.    

Our goal is $10,000 but can only be met with the help of the Community.   We need to show this young family our appreciation for all they have given us during their young lives.  Please volunteer to assist us in this Mission by purchasing tickets and/or making donations.

Tickets are on sale at THE CHAPEL IN THE PINES, FIRST BANK IN SEVEN LAKES, THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION ON THE NORTH SIDE, AND THE SEVEN LAKES FIRE COMPANY. We accept cash or checks [made out to BENEFIT FOR MATT NORTHCUTT] for the $10 Benefit Ticket and if you wish to buy an early Raffle Ticket to get a lucky number, they are $10 each or 3 for $25!

If you are interested in volunteering to help us in any way, please call the Chapel in the Pines at 910-400-5188 and leave a message with your name and phone number. We will call you back. We can use any help you wish to offer!

Look forward to seeing you there on the 16th!