The Van Duzer Foundation aims to make a Fort Pierce family's dream come true after ALS diagnosis

Ronnie McClure diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A young Fort Pierce couple is facing financial and emotional hardships, as they cope with the diagnosis of a fatal, fast-moving disease.

Justine and Ronnie McClure married in 2009. But on Dec. 23, 2011, doctors told Ronnie he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- a neurodegenerative disease that is incurable, with a life expectancy of three to five years.

Almost all their lives, Justine and Ronnie lived two streets apart in White City. She was his younger sister's friend.
 
"She claims that she always knew we would end up together," said Ronnie.
 
Now, Justine is 30. She's a secretary at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, and Ronnie is 36. He's an irrigation technician by trade.
 
"I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I wanted, work as hard as I wanted," said Ronnie. "Woke up one morning, and it was gone."
 
He says he can't work anymore. Every morning he wakes up and says his first thought is about having Lou Gehrig's disease. The pain never goes away, neither does the muscle twitching or the tedious walking.
 
"It's been getting a lot worse," Ronnie sighed. "So, I haven't been able to do much."
 
Ronnie doesn't like to think about what his wife and his three children, 15, 13 and 9, will go through when he's gone.
 
"The biggest fear is leaving everybody," he said.
 
But, there's a person by Ronnie's side every step of the way.
 
Justine makes his coffee. Lays out his clothes, and is there to pick him up when he falls.
 
"This was the last thing we ever expected. But, it's happened, so, we take it in stride and move on. Fight it," said Ronnie.
 
The Van Duzer Foundation will be holding a fundraiser at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce Wednesday night to help the McClures. 100 percent of everything purchased will go to the family.
 
They want to use the money to honeymoon in the Bahamas.
Print this article Back to Top

Comments