Buchanan ‘Ramps it Up’ for RossPublished 7:54pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Buchanan will “Ramp it Up” Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast for Don Ross.
Ross, who will be attending, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a disease of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
ALS is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The breakfast, from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Redbud City Center (former senior center), 131 S. Oak St., is sponsored by Buchanan-Galien Lions Club to provide a wheelchair ramp for Ross, a mechanical design engineer better known for coaching and athletic involvement around Buchanan.
After three years, “It’s to the point where he’s having difficulty walking,” said his wife, Dianne, who teaches in Buchanan.
They have two daughters, one in Grand Rapids and one who just graduated from Alma College.
Ross graduated from Ferris State University and worked at Hess Engineering for 16 years, including in sales in the parts department.
Dianne Ross said her husband’s ALS initially affected his speech. When he began slurring words, it was thought he had suffered a stroke. He hasn’t been able to speak for more than a year.
ALS affects five of every 100,000 people. In about 10 percent of cases, it is caused by a genetic defect. Symptoms usually do not develop until after age 50. Persons lose muscle strength and coordination while gradually getting worse until it’s impossible to perform routine tasks, such as climbing steps, getting out of a chair or swallowing.
Ross does not belong to the Lions, but he’s given to his community in so many ways, it’s natural those he’s touched want to boost a Buchanan Boosters founder.
He kept score at games and coached boys and girls basketball and girls softball.
“He coached about every sport in town,” Dianne Ross said.