On Saturday, Nov. 14, the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company will host a quarter auction for a local volunteer firefighter with multiple sclerosis.
J. Allen Ridgely, 51, has volunteered at the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department since 1980. Working with the department is in his blood: he's a third-generation volunteer. He started out as an EMT and now serves as the department's duty crew officer.
Ridgely was diagnosed with MS in 1985, and has used a wheelchair for the past 12 years. He's hoping an experimental stem cell treatment can help improve his mobility and quality of life, and friends and family are helping him to raise funds for the cause. Proceeds from Saturday's auction — held at the Lisbon fire department because there isn't space at West Friendship — will go entirely toward paying for the treatment, according to event organizer Debbie Linton.
Tickets for the auction, which starts at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m., are $5 each. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, stem cell therapy has the potential to slow the progression of the disease and even repair nervous system damage.
Ridgely doesn't expect a miracle with the treatment, which is not covered by insurance since it's so new — "I'm just hoping it will get me operational again," he said. He expects the procedure, and the costs of traveling to the treatment center and staying in a nearby hotel, will cost about $15,000.
"We have a deal if [the treatment] works and he gets up on his feet again, he owes me a dance," Linton said.