TOWNSEND — Louise Thorpe says she is not the type to lead fundraising efforts, but the plight of the Roberts family hit close to home.
“I woke up in the middle of the night. I laid there the rest of the night thinking, could this be done, could that be done,” she said.
Glenn Roberts, 48, is just a little younger than Louise’s sons. They all went to North Middlesex Regional High School. It could have been her family.
Roberts was diagnosed with an inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
His grandmother and two aunts all died from the disease, said his father, Bill Roberts of Townsend.
Glenn’s two other brothers and his mother are at risk of developing the disease.
“He’s doing great physically,” his father said. The Ashby resident still drives to work once a week at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, where he is the associate dean of Student Support Services.
The diagnosis came on his birthday, July 23. He lost 30 pounds in three months and has difficulty speaking, his father said.
He is using a new treatment, the Deanna Protocol, that costs about $400 a month for vitamins and supplements.
MWCC has been great, Bill Roberts said. They made more than $8,000 in one fundraiser.
Glenn grew up in Townsend and remains part of the Townsend community. “Something needs to be done in this town,” Thorpe said.
So she got busy. “I’ve had all kinds of help,” she said. Experienced organizers from the tight-knit town stepped up: Sandy Tuttle, Donna Fenton, Jan Wesson, Cheryl Simoneau, Jane Perigny, Pat Wallace, Tubby Boucher and Tim Rollo.
They have put together a raffle and dinner. Nearly 750 out of 1,000 raffle tickets have already been sold.
The prizes are unique. A handmade quilt from the Squanicook Quilt Guild, a 32-inch flat-screen television and a signed, numbered print of Coggshall Park. The original painting was done by Louise’s husband, Samuel Thorpe, in 2003. The respected artist passed away in 2005.
Fenton is in charge of the kitchen for the planned pasta dinner at the meeting hall on Dudley Road from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 2. The snow date is Feb. 9.
Raffle winners will be drawn at the dinner and a Chinese auction will be run during the event.
The Roberts know that Glenn may never be able to use all the money that is raised. In that case, they will donate any remaining funds to the ALS Foundation, Bill said.
Glenn is not able to talk, but he did send an email his father shared.
“I’ve never felt comfortable being the center of attention, and I certainly don’t feel as though anyone is obligated to give us anything. But I know that people simply care and they want to do something to help. Ultimately I am just blessed to have so many genuinely good and kind people in my life. I know there are plenty of people in the world who are not nearly as fortunate as me,” Glenn wrote.
For tickets and information, contact Louise Thorpe at 978-597-8598 or Cheryl Simoneau at 978-597-6589.