Event to foster hope for Mt. Juliet family

Colleen Creamer • Updated Jan 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The third annual MJ4Hope fundraising event is scheduled to take place Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at Rutland Elementary School.

The mission of the three-year-old nonprofit is to give back to Mt. Juliet High School alumni, as well as members of the community who need extra financial and emotional support during times of medical crises.

This year, multiple families will benefit, including the Vickers family. Randy Vickers and Ashley Young Vickers both graduated from Mt. Juliet High School in 2001. Ashley Vickers was diagnosed more than two years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Travel and medical expenses are fast adding up as the family seeks out different treatments to slow the disease’s progression. There is no known cure for ALS, and few medications are approved by the FDA to treat ALS. 

Randy Vickers said the diagnosis was certainly not on the young family’s busy schedule, but they are dealing with it.

“Life has thrown us a curve ball, and we are just trying to do the best we can,” Vickers said. 

However, according to Vickers, “she is still able to text.”

Randy Vickers said Ashley’s symptoms appeared after the birth of the couple’s fourth child. They have four children 14, 8, 7 and 2 years old. Symptoms began with a weakening of her arms, and later began to affect the rest of her body, making day-to-day functions such as walking and speaking nearly impossible.

ALS has certain characterizations such as stiff muscles, muscle twitching and chronic worsening that results in weakness due to the muscles decreasing in size, which then results in difficulty in speaking, swallowing and eventually breathing.

The family is looking forward to getting a power chair and a ramp built for the house to make life a little more manageable while they continue to look for medicines that will help Ashley remain a vital part of her children’s lives.

Randy Vickers expressed his gratitude for the family and friends who were willing to help with the care of the children.

Ashley Vickers, a nurse and event planner, has experimented with multiple different drugs, and the costs add up. Their journey has taken them to a number of states and clinics in the United States and as far away as Russia for stem-cell treatment.

The Hoops4Hope 2017 event will take place at Rutland Elementary School at 4 p.m.

An alumni basketball game, three-point shooting contest, barbecue dinner and silent auction will also take place. All of the money raised will go to families, including the Vickers.

To reserve a spot on an alumni basketball or cheer team, to buy tickets for the three-point contest for high school and under or to sponsor, visit mj4hope.org. For more updates and information regarding the event, visit the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

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