GREENSBURG – Shane England was in the process of remodeling the home that he, his wife Gretchen and their four children share when he received a fearsome diagnosis- he had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that usually begins with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. The progression of weakness and eventual paralysis moves on through the muscles of the limbs and torso, as well as those that control vital functions like speech, swallowing and, in advanced cases, even breathing. Currently, Shane has lost most of the feeling and the ability to use his legs and is now confined to either the couch or his wheelchair.
Before receiving his diagnosis, England was the successful owner and operator of a semi-truck for Horizon Freight Lines in Edinburgh. Several years ago, he and his wife bought a house in Westport in need of extensive repairs and have been working diligently to remodel their home. The progression of the disease and medical costs have stalled their improvements as Shane is no longer able to work or remodel. They were only one third of the way through renovations when he was not able to continue. As Shane’s condition worsened, Gretchen quit her job and stayed home to care for him. She previously worked as a nurse, so she was qualified to provide the care he needed, saving them the difficult-to-manage bill for home health care.
Shane is currently on the state’s healthcare system, which helps with some of the medical bills associated with his condition, but the England family still has to pay a great deal of money out of pocket for his medical care and treatments with neither of them working. In addition to the medical expenses, the couple has four children, ranging from ages four to 18.
Jeffrey Yarnell, a close friend of Shane’s, decided to throw a fundraising benefit to help the England family. October 19, beginning at 11 a.m., the award-winning barbeque team from In the Pig House, of Columbus, will be at the entrance to Rural King with pulled pork sandwiches, chips and drinks available for donations to raise money for the Englands. There will also be a bake sale at the same time, with individually priced items.
At 5 p.m., the benefit will move to the south end of the Rural King parking lot for an “Anything on Wheels” Cruise-In, where automobile aficionados can show off their vehicles while enjoying time with friends, live music and good food. The Cruise-In will be similar to a car show, but there will be no entry fees or prizes, just car lovers showing off their mechanical marvels. The second portion of the benefit will feature a 50/50 raffle and live acoustic music by Daniel Wasson from 5 to 8 p.m.
When asked why he put together the benefit for Shane, Yarnell said, “He’s just an extremely hard worker and a great guy. I’ve known him for about 18 years and he’s just how a man ought to be. He’s always been dedicated to his family. Shane’s one of the best friends a guy could have and is every bit as good a father and husband.”
Yarnell said he has a goal of raising $4,000 to purchase the supplies needed to complete the renovations on Shane and Gretchen’s house. All proceeds from this event will go directly to the England family, with the majority being used to complete the improvements on the house and the remainder going to the family to ease their financial burden.
Vicki Bateman, of Ramps to Freedom, an organization that installs free ramps for individuals with physical limitations, said the Wednesday Crew has volunteered to provide 100 percent of the labor required to finish the house. The Wednesday Crew has already completed outdoor and indoor ramps, some flooring work, some painting and the installation of kitchen cabinets. There is still a significant amount of work to be done, including the entire kitchen aside from the cabinets, the bathroom and the roof over one of the children’s rooms, among other improvements needed to make the home comfortable for the Englands.
A Mainsource Bank account has been opened to allow for direct monetary donations. Those wishing to do so may donate money at any Mainsource location to the account of Jeff Yarnell/Gretchen England. Anyone wishing to donate building supplies may contact Ed Tower from Ramps to Freedom to find out what is needed. Ed can be reached at email@example.com. Anyone wishing to contribute items to the bake sale may contact Jeff Yarnell at 812-350-8525, to discuss what and how much is needed.
Shane seems to be well-loved by those who know him. Yarnell invited everyone in the area to come out to the benefit Saturday, October 19, in the Rural King parking lot to help this amazing family. He said he would love to see the parking lot as full as possible to show support for Shane.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004