GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
A specially equipped van used to transport patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, exchanged hands on Tuesday, April 14th during a small ceremony at the Hilltop Administration Building in Grand Junction.
ALS is a very rare disease with fewer than 20,000 cases per year in the United States. ALS affects the nervous system weakening muscles making it difficult to move, talk, swallow, even breathe and there is no cure. Dave Kulak suffers with ALS and says, “It’s difficult when your body starts to not work the way you want it to, and it becomes a challenge everyday, and it’s a new journey in life. So, it’s something I gotta take in stride, and do the best I can do everyday.”
Tom Keenan helped start, “Dan’s Vans” with his sister Cindy several years ago while his little brother was fighting ALS. Tom got a van with great clearance to accommodate his brother’s height while in the wheelchair. After only 760 traveled miles, Dan lost the battle to ALS, but wonderful memories live on. When asked what one of the fondest memories was traveling with his brother, Tom says, “Taking my brother back to his last class reunion at Middle Park High School where he and I both graduated from.”
Now, Dave Kulak is the eleventh recipient to receive Dan’s Van to start his new journey in life. “It gives me the opportunity to be outdoors, and enjoy the things that have become hard for me to do now,” says Kulak.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed the good heart of Tom Keenan, or the fighting spirit of Dave Kulak, but the new disease has changed the way precious memories are shared. “I can’t imagine going through those 2 and a half years not being able to touch and hug cause that was important to us, and I see that missing. We’re unable to really grasp Dave and what he’s going through. It’s tough to share sorrow from 6 feet,” says Keenan.
The community helped Tom pay off the $60,000 van in 18 months so he and his brother, Dan could enjoy priceless memories. “Dan’s Vans” needs your help to keep people with ALS moving forward, and you can help by making donations.
Click here to start making donations and change lives: http://keenanvan.com