Support Bill McCann

There are 2 ways to donate:

  1. Make check or money order payable to Project Main Street and send to Ted Suidgeest, 3295 N. Krepps, St. Johns, MI 48879. Project Main Street is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information about Project Main St, click here. To ensure that 100% of your donation goes directly to the McCann family, please mail your check and do not donate via the Project Main St website.
  2. Credit card:

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In August of 2016, Bill and Juanita McCann, had their life altered irrevocably after Bill was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This fundraiser is to cover the costs of necessary renovations to their home for a motorized wheelchair, medical support equipment, lifts, and a roll-in shower so that Bill will be comfortable and safe at home as he battles this disease.

Bill and Juanita McCann, local residents in St. Johns, MI and parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church, have been married for 21 years and have six children. Allie (20) is studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Riley(18) graduated from Lansing Catholic High School, and plans to attend Grand Valley State University in the fall of 2017, Luke(16) is a sophomore at St. Johns High School, Scott(12), Annaliza (10), & Brenda (10) attend St. Joseph Catholic School in St. Johns.

Bill and Juanita are both active within their careers and their community, they have an enthusiasm for life, their faith, and their family. Their journey with ALS started about a year ago. Bill was training for a half marathon and noticed that his arms were twitching. He thought it was an electrolyte imbalance and would go away. Then in February of 2016, when he tried to open a screw top off of a bottle and could not do it; he realized he'd lost strength in his left hand. After a long series of tests and appointments with Neurologists and Neurosurgeons, he received his ALS diagnosis in August of 2016.

ALS is a catastrophic, progressive, neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. It affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The progression of the disease leaves people without the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe and a life expectancy of between two to five years for 80% of the cases.

Bill was diagnosed at the University of Michigan ALS clinic where they meet with several specialists including an occupational specialist, physical therapist, social worker, respiratory specialist, dietician, and doctor. Since we do not know how fast or slow the disease will travel, they evaluate the progression each visit. At their first appointment Bill and Juanita were told that they should look into renovating their home to make it accessible for a motorized wheelchair and also think about a roll-in shower. Due to the nature of the existing home structure and locations of load bearing walls, it is necessary to relocate the kitchen in the home in order to expand the master bathroom to accommodate Bill’s needs.

In addition to the house renovations, the social worker also asked them to think about what will happen when Bill can no longer work. They do not have any disability insurance; they believe Bill will qualify for Social Security, but this income will not replace his current income.

Juanita recently said, “Currently, the disease is affecting Bill’s left hand. Each day he doesn’t know what he will face next. Simple tasks such as typing, buttoning, and tying shoes become a struggle. He has an awesome attitude and will not let this get him down. He continues to laugh and smile through it all. He reminds us that we will face each hurdle together and take it one day at a time. When I asked him how he stays so positive, he said, ‘I have my family and my faith in God. What more could I want?’ He amazes me with the strength he shows every day.”

He amazes us all.

The current goal for this fundraiser is to cover the expenses associated with a three part remodel to their home. This project will be particularly difficult due to the nature of the home. There are structural walls in the way of the remodel work, challenging layouts, small doorways, and corners that make wheelchair accessibility problematic.