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Family rallies around Jim Kuster

ALS fundraiser slated for May 12

May 08, 2012 08:46 am | Anna Katryan

The family of a Westlock man who is suffering from what is commonly referred as the Lou Gehrig’s disease will host a dinner and dance fundraiser to raise awareness about the disease on May 12 at the Westlock Community Hall.

Jim Kuster, 55, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the beginning of April and has since battled its effects, which has been known to paralyze voluntary muscles and destroy nerve cells in the body.

Many people around town know Kuster as the owner of the C.C. Cycle business which he established from the ground up 30-years ago.

“The physical symptoms that come with ALS such as the breathing and muscle spasms which causes him pain makes it harder for him to be at work full time,” daughter Michelle Kuster said.

Alberta Health does not cover all the expenses said Michelle, adding that many suffering from the disease rely on Blue Cross which will take a few months before it will help pay for treatments such as massage therapy sessions.

“The therapy is really helping dad but it gets really expensive because he has to travel and shut the shop down when he goes,” she said.

A portion of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards ALS research, with the rest of the money going towards Leona Markowsky who is pledging to raise $5,000 towards an ALS Society walk-a-thon for individuals afflicted with the disease on June 9 in Edmonton.

So far Markowsky and her team has raised just over $3,000 and hopes the fundraiser will help bring them closer to reaching their goal.

“We’re definitely going to do whatever we can to make sure she hits that mark,” Michelle said.

An alternative motive for hosting the fundraiser was also to get the community to help lift Jim’s spirits, Michelle said.

“We want to promote a positive environment and reenergize dad. Receiving an expiration date on your life is a devastating thing and so we are trying to keep him positive,” she said.

A silent auction table will also be set up at the event and cocktails will be available for $3 throughout the evening.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 and can be purchased at Clancy Graphics at 780-349-6877 or Total Plumbing & Heating at 780-349-4005. Anyone also looking to donate to the ALS Society walk-a-thon in Edmonton can email Leona at

“We are hoping to bring everybody together in a positive way for dad and if we end up raising money too then great,” Michelle said.


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