SUFFIELD, CT -- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis strikes one or two out of 100,000 people every year worldwide. Known in North America as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS usually develops in people between 40 and 60 years old. But it can occur in older and younger people, and men are affected slightly more than women.
Mike Pohorylo, 59, a vending operator from Connecticut, was diagnosed with ALS last year. Many people with this neurodegenerative disease eventually lose their ability to move and communicate. But Pohorylo's family, friends and vending industry colleagues are determined to help keep him on the move.
On Saturday, Feb. 4, they will gather for a fundraiser at the Jeanice H. Seaverns Performing Arts Center at Suffield Academy in Suffield, CT. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. and tickets are $25. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Learn more about attending, making a donation or participating in the auction at FamilyandFriendsforMike.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event will help raise money to pay for necessities not covered by health insurance, including a specialized wheelchair, as well as a van equipped with hand controls, ramps and a lift. These essential aids will help keep the resolute vending operator on the route, doing the job he loves.
Pohorylo was the owner of Food-Pro LLC, a seven-route operation based in South Windsor, CT, until 2009. He also served on the board and as president of the Connecticut Vending Association, one of the supporters of Saturday night's affair. He is now an employee at Quality Vending (Bristol, CT), which acquired Food-Pro.
"Mike often volunteered time to help our industry, and he provided valuable testimony at the state Capitol on numerous occasions," said CVA president Eric Mueller of United Snack Group (Cheshire, CT). "Now Mike could use our help."
Michael Daddona of Automated Services (Milford, CT) appreciates his fellow vendor's passion. Daddona has contributed $500 to "Family and Friends for Mike" and is challenging industry members -- collectively or individually -- to match his gift.
Visit FamilyandFriendsforMike.com or see Mike Pohorylo on Facebook.