The fight is far from over for Our Friend Dan.
The tight-knit group trying to help their friend , a recently-wed 34-year-old Dunedin man with ALS, an incurable nueromuscular disease also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, has a far reach — far enough to reach Pittsburgh, PA, where people are rallying to help him with a fundraiser Spin-A-Thon on Sunday, July 8.
At a year and a half after his official diagnosis, Soyka can’t speak or swallow. He uses a syringe to eat and drink through a feeding tube and breathes with a tracheotomy. Medical statistics give an average of three to five years life expectancy after an ALS diagnosis.
Some of his Pennsylvania friends, Jon Wright and Cassie Conti, organized a fundraiser Spin-A-Thon, set for Sunday. Stationary cyclers pay $10 an hour to ride for up to four hours at Alexander's Athletic Club in Pittsburgh, with all proceeds going toward Soyka's medical bills and ALS research.
"Remember, Dan can't run or bike anymore. We can give our time and money to perhaps make life better for him," organizers wrote in a Facebook invitation.
Our Friend Dan organized a month-long art auction fundraiser in Dunedin during January, which culminated with an art bash at the Dunedin House of Beer. The event raised about $20,000 toward Soyka's medical bills.
Organizers in Pittsburgh are accepting donations or rider sponsorships for those who cannot attend. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
To get involved locally, visit Our Friend Dan on the web.