Although Rob MacLean has battled plenty of blazes in his day, his toughest fight is ahead of him as he goes toe-to-toe with ALS.
This will be a tag-team match with the help of the community, which in two days raised close to $8,500 and as of Tuesday morning was close to $15,000.
”The support from our community and friends has been amazing,” said wife, Traci.
“We’ve kept quiet about it for so long and now it’s out there and getting responses from some people that didn’t know and it’s nice to be in touch with old friends.
“It’s been pretty overwhelming.”
The former Pitt Meadows volunteer firefighter and his family received the degenerative disease diagnosis just two weeks after MacLean’s 51st birthday.
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (named after the famous New York Yankee who was struck down by it), this disorder causes the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles, leading to atrophy, and paralysis of the body.
There is currently no cure for the ALS, but according to a GoFundMe campaign (Team Rob MacLean vs ALS) set up by friends and family, MacLean has been accepted and is taking part in a clinical trial at McGill University in Montreal.
“We’re just hoping this treatment he’s receiving will slow down the progression of the disease,” said Traci. “So that’s our goal for now.”
He will be taking monthly trips to Quebec for treatment and attending a pain clinic to do all he can to keep the affects at bay, Friends of MacLean Family said.
Due to debilitating symptoms of ALS, MacLean is no longer able to work, so the financial burdens on the family of four are considerable.
“It is not going to be easy to deal with this ugly disease and the toll it takes, but we all want Rob, Traci and the girls to focus on treatments, research for a cure and quality of life, not worry about money,” stated Friends of MacLean Family.
“So if you can help to ease this one burden by supporting the family with a donation it will go a long way to ensuring Rob has the best chance to overcome the obstacles of this battle with ALS.”
To donate, go to gf.me/v/c/ncwk/team-rob-maclean-vs-als
Traci said the Pitt Meadows Fire Department has been a great support system for the family.
Fire chief Mike Larsson said Rob is considered family.
“Once you join the Pitt Meadows ranks or firefighter ranks anywhere, you’re part of the family,” he said.
“If you’re not volunteering any more, you’re still part of the family and we’re going to be there for him.”