Dinner planned to celebrate man with ALS, fund home renovations

Laurie Storer wears her heart on her sleeve and her motto on her wrist.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jan 19, 2013

"Everything happens for a reason," reads her gleaming silver bracelet — a phrase the Storer family has earnestly embraced during a year of challenges.

Laurie's still searching for the reason her husband is battling a fatal illness that's stripping him of his strength and independence.

But she's confident it's out there, with something positive as the end result.

"Maybe someday we'll know why this horrible thing had to happen," said Laurie, 47. "But for now, we're not going to be sad. We're living in the moment."

Brad Storer, 50, formerly the director of Erie County Care Facility, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis last April.

The degenerative disease — also called ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease — causes a person's muscles to stop taking orders from nerves, until the person is completely paralyzed. It typically shortens a lifespan to within five years or less.

On first glance, Brad's appearance hasn't changed much since the day of his diagnosis.

But previously effortless tasks like cooking, walking, lifting objects and getting dressed are quickly becoming exhausting as his muscles wear out.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm having a wrestling match in my shirt," Brad said, laughing. "The other day it had me in a full nelson."

The Storers and their children — Abbey, 18, and Adam, 16 — agree it's OK to continue laughing and smiling as Brad battles his illness. 

They celebrate and appreciate the time they have together, Laurie said, whether they're taking a road trip with Abbey to her University of Akron dorm or watching Adam complete a touchdown pass for Huron's junior varsity football team.

They're upfront and honest about their emotions and concerns, but they never dwell on them, Brad said.

"I'm not really angry because there's no one to blame," he said. "If I live for five years, I don't want everyone to act like I'm dead for five years."

The family's positive attitude and determined spirit has attracted attention across Northern Ohio from individuals eager to help.

Erie County Care Facility employees and Laurie's coworkers at Firelands Regional Medical Center are currently coordinating the largest fundraiser to date to help the Storers.

They plan to pack the care facility with hundreds of people Feb. 2 for a spaghetti dinner and silent auction — a way to give back to a family that has given so much to the local community, said Pam Nims, a nurse at Firelands.

"They spent their lives helping people," Nims said. "Now it's our turn to help them."

Brad can no longer work or drive a car. Soon he won't even be able to climb the stairs in his home.

Any money collected at the fundraiser will help the Storers convert a first-floor half-bathroom into a handicap-accessible full bathroom. A nearby computer room will eventually become Brad's new bedroom.

"He'll be able to use it every day and it will be a constant reminder of how much people care," Laurie said.

But to the Storers, the fundraiser really isn't about the money, or even the downstairs renovations.

"We just can't wait to have everyone who's helped us under one roof," Brad said. "In a situation where you feel like you can't do anything, they're doing something huge."

 

Want to help?

What: Spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Brad Storer, former Erie County Care Facility director battling Lou Gehrig's disease

When: Feb. 2, 4-8 p.m.

Where: Erie County Care Facility

Cost: $10 for adults, $7 for children

For more information or to donate money or items for a silent auction, call Jennifer Sherer at 419-656-6125, or Terry Payne at 419-366-8775.

 

Comments

mrmorency

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Libel and defamation.

2cents

Your comment sounds like you have a bone to pick with the family but do not address it directly. Maybe you should keep your negative comments to the heroin addicted gun toting trash that walks the streets of Sandusky! I know we are living in an entitlement, tax the hard worker society, and I know what I bust my ass for is supposed to be divided up among those who choose to do nothing to better themselves just because they breathe. Some people still strive to get ahead in life and just maybe deserve to live in a $200K or better home because they work for it. I know I am pretty tired of paying 52% income tax just so the losers in society can live off me.

My best and good luck Brad!

Informed

2cents, I would like to know how you pay 52% income tax. The federal max is 35% and state and city income taxes do not amount to 17%. Please elaborate.

underthebridge

mrmorency -THIS MAY BE THE MOST DISGUSTING COMMENT I'VE EVER READ ON THIS BOARD. COMPLETELY HEARTLESS.

Luvtoride

These people are family friends of mine and have been for over 20 years. How dare you! They are some of the best people I have ever met in my life. And yes, they do own a 200K home possibly but they have built that life for themselves through education and hard work. What have you done? And what's with all the hate and anger. If you have a heart of ice....maybe you shouldn't comment and attempt to ruin another person's day who actually cares for other people, regardless of who they or how they live their lives. It's not your job to JUDGE others. Find other things to do with your time instead of being heartless because.......what comes around goes around.

mrmorency

I don't think I was judgmental, I wasn't attacking this man for his hard work. I certainly wasn't trying to sound cynical towards his ailments. In fact, I feel it to be nearly impossible for anyone to tell me what 'I' meant. I truly do wish this man good luck. My point was not to attack him for his lifestyle or the fact he and his wife worked hard for their home.

My point was I hope he appreciates (not saying he doesn't or wouldn't) the outpouring of support for him. If any one misconstrued my comment as malicious, please accept my apology. Many people suffer from incurable "death sentence" type conditions who also work hard and support their community. They don't get fundraisers, heck they may not even have insurance which I'm sure he does. Good for him.

Thanks to you all for pointing out that I needed to clarify a bit on my comments. Honestly, no personal attack was meant towards this man or his family. I agree, it would be heartless to attack a person in this position. But I can also say his situation isn't the one in the most dire need of contributions.

Rod Farva

No matter what you were trying to say you still sounded like a douche

housedog2

Seriously mrmorency?? Do you really think that a person who worked their butts off to obtain a 220k house planned on getting a debilitating disease?? If he did not have a debilitaing disease, he would continue to work and live in his home without the need for renovation to make it wheelchair assessable. His wife also works. So do I by the way, and my husband and I just got approved for $225,000 for our next house. I work full time and pay plenty of taxes, and so does my husband. If we want to live in a $225,000 house or anybody else who can afford it does, why is it a sin??? I just hope you are never afflicted with any kind of debilitating disease and have to make major changes to your world. Good luck to Brad and his family. I will be making a donation.

Mime Bloggling's picture
Mime Bloggling

2cents you made some very good observations. ^5

"Without sounding rude"...oh, but you were. "I hope you appreciate the event"..what makes you think they won't? The comments reek of class envy which plays out ad nauseam every day in our culture and frankly I'm tired of those kinds of boorish criticisms. For God's sake the man is facing a terminal illness, the family has been turned upside down and they are trying to face it with as much dignity and grace as they can...with a little help from others. Disease is no respecter of person or class.

God's best to the Storer family...

Mom of 2 boys

2 cents.....I totally agree. They have been contributors to our community for several years and deserve our support, whether they live in a two hundred thousand dollar home or a shack. What is wrong with people? It is not our place to judge who deserves help, it is our job to love others and do what we are able. I don't know this family, but wish you all the best, AND I WILL be donating, because at this time I am able....God Bless You <3

ilkyp

I wish mrmorency would change his name so he doesn't get confused for the real one.

Amythe K

Laurie! I am here to say that if you need anything your friends are here for you..Praying for strength and a terrific turnout. Love you

worddrow811

LIFE IS TERMINAL, NOT THE DISEASE.

KM

I commend the family for their attitude; it is and will be invaluable to them as life unfolds.

I understand where mrmorency is coming from. It's expensive being ill/disabled, but this family appears to have resources that many do not.

If it were me, I would either tap my savings to cover the cost of renovations, take out an equity line of credit or downsize to something more affordable and leave the fundraisers for those less fortunate. But that's me.