Bill Boggs was 22 when he was first diagnosed with limb and girdle muscular dystrophy.
When Dawn, his wife, met him 10 years ago the then-38-year-old was still walking and active. A second marriage for both of them, they had three girls and a boy between them and now three grandchildren. Two years ago Boggs, now 48, lost the ability to walk and is now must use a wheelchair.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that cause muscle weakness. According to the Mayo Clinic's website, “muscle fibers are unusually susceptible to damage. These damaged muscles become progressively weaker. Most people who have muscular dystrophy will eventually need to use a wheelchair.” The most common variety begins in childhood with boys; other kinds don't surface until adulthood.
“There are 43 different types, which is why it is so hard to find a drug that will slow it down.” Dawn Boggs said.
There is no cure.
A member of the South Whitley Town Council, Bill Boggs uses his spare time to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Northeast Indiana. In fact he and his team have raised more money this year then anyone else.
“As of today we have raised $10,700,” Dawn Boggs said.
They have done this through a variety of fundraisers including a skating party, an auction of items donated through local businesses, the aid of Pizza Hut, bake sales and a large garage sale of donated items. The auction alone helped them raise $4,300.
Bill Boggs has been on disability for a while. His wife is a manager at the Arby's in Columbia City. She said everything you need for a person with a handicap, from the wheelchair to a modified van for transportation, is expensive. So far they have saved money by buying a used wheelchair. When Bill Boggs was first forced to use a wheelchair they had to redo their bathroom.
“A new wheelchair can cost $3,000-$5,000,” Dawn Boggs said.
She has insurance through her job that helps, and he has Medicare. What they can't cover the MDA of Northeast Indiana has helped them with.
This Sunday the Boggs and their team will be participating in the MDA's Muscle Walk at the Gates Sport Center on IPFW's campus, 2101 Coliseum Blvd. E. The goal for the event is to raise $70,000 to help the MDA serve area residents who have muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle diseases. More than 600 walkers and people in wheelchairs and on scooters will take a victory lap on the track. The event will also have carnival games face painting by Sweetcakes for the kids along with hot dogs and other snacks. The event starts at 1:30 p.m. Sunday; doors open at noon. Individuals and teams have been encouraged to raise $70 per person, which is the amount it costs to fund one minute of MDA research.