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Crumpler man fights Lou Gehrig’s Disease; benefit planned to assist family

A November benefit will assist Keith Huffman with medical expenses as he battles ALS.

Plan to Attend

Benefit Spaghetti Supper, Auction and Raffle for Keith Huffman

Date: Saturday, Nov. 9

Time: 4 to 8 p.m.

Location: Ashe County High School

Details: $8 per plate. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Concessions will be available.

Originally published: Oct. 25
Last modified: Oct. 25

Heather Samudio

Ashe County couple Keith and Tammy Huffman have been facing hard times and continue to face some unknowns as Keith fights Lou Gehrig ’s disease. Aware of their struggles, their family and friends have come together to host a benefit on Saturday, Nov. 9, to help the family.

Keith first learned of his diagnosis on March 6, 2012, after testing to rule out everything else. The doctors said he had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“There is no specific test to determine ALS,” he said.

Keith was experiencing muscle cramps that got worse and then spread, and then his muscles began twitching. He hasn’t worked since 2011.

The diagnosis was hard for the Huffmans, but with the help of God, family, friends and church friends, the couple said they have been dealing with it the best way they can.

“I have a great neurologist, Dr. Kennedy in Boone,” Keith said. “He helps to manage my pain and that is all that can be done. Because it affects everyone differently and it is not known how you get this disease, there is no treatment.”

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, death generally occurs within three to five years of a diagnosis, and approximately one in four patients survive for more than five years.

“Nobody wants to die, but everything is in God’s plan,” Keith said. “I will be here till he says it’s time to come home.”

The family has become more knowledgeable about the disease, but their advice to others focuses on more important issues such as appreciation for what you have.

“Never take a day for granted,” Keith said. “Enjoy each and every day like it is your last, and always keep your faith, no matter what.”

The couple lives in Crumpler and has three children, Brittany Huffman Phillips, Ryan Huffman and Preston Huffman. The Huffmans are previous owners of Boone Kubota.

The benefit will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, at Ashe County High School.

Featured will be a spaghetti supper at $8 per person, a silent auction, music and a raffle. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or five for $20. Concessions will be available throughout the event.

The Huffmans are hopeful that they will be able to attend.

“Some days Keith has a hard time breathing and is in a lot of pain, but he really wants to attend to let everyone know how much he appreciates everything,” Tammy said.

Individuals who can’t attend the benefit, but would like to help the Huffmans can mail donations to Keith Huffman at 1460 Shatley Road, Crumpler, NC 28617.

For more information about ALS, visit http://www.cdc.gov/als. The closest ALS Foundation is located in Raleigh and is known as the Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.catfishfoundation.org. 

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.