KIRK FAVREAU, far right, with his wife, Paula, and friends are shown at a recent gathering in Freeport. Favreau said the diagnosis for ALS came April 1, but the symptoms started a few months earlier in January, with a feeling of weakness in his legs and difficulty in lifting the front of his feet, also known as footdrop, that got progressively worse.

KIRK FAVREAU, far right, with his wife, Paula, and friends are shown at a recent gathering in Freeport. Favreau said the diagnosis for ALS came April 1, but the symptoms started a few months earlier in January, with a feeling of weakness in his legs and difficulty in lifting the front of his feet, also known as footdrop, that got progressively worse.

FREEPORT

BRACELETS TO support Kirk Favreau are available for purchase.

BRACELETS TO support Kirk Favreau are available for purchase.

Y ou can ask Kirk Favreau of Topsham — or his friends — anything, but be prepared to endure some off-color humor before you get a straight answer. That includes questions about Favreau’s fight against ALS, a disease he was diagnosed with last spring.

A fundraiser is being held for Favreau at Buck’s Naked BBQ and Steakhouse in Freeport on Oct. 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. Raffles will be held and music will be provided by band The GE3KS.

Bike Nights have been held through the summer for a variety of causes and can raise between $4,000 and $10,000, said Todd Sanders of Freeport, who is helping to organize the benefit for Favreau.

Favreau’s friends are enthusiastic, if a little silly, about raising funds to support their friend.

“I know I’m not a reporter, but I’ve got a great headline for you: This group is all-in for ALS,” said Brenda Hale at a recent gathering in Freeport. “We do play cards.”

“I’m the best,” Favreau deadpanned in response. “I use a walker inside to get around. That doesn’t mean I should stop getting invited to poker.”

Favreau is Bowdoin College’s grounds coordinator, a job that he continues to do full-time.

“I still do everything, but it’s slower,” Favreau said. “It will be a little different this winter with me not doing snow removal, but they’ll manage. They do awesome. They really don’t have a choice.”

“He’s been at Bowdoin College for 19 years and he hasn’t graduated yet,” said Favreau’s wife, Paula, who described him as “the kindest person I’ve ever met.”

He and Paula have been married since July 1, “the same day as the opening of the striper season, so I don’t forget,” Favreau joked.

Favreau said the diagnosis came April 1, but the symptoms started a few months earlier in January, with a feeling of weakness in his legs and difficulty in lifting the front of his feet, also known as foot-drop, that got progressively worse.

“The doctor said I have ALS. I said, ‘Let’s take care of it,’” said Favreau.

The doctor, Favreau said, began to shake her head.

There is no cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The disorder results in degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, according to the ALS Association, resulting in complete paralysis in the disease’s later stages.

“I just try to live my life like it’s not even there. I just have to go slower, I have to plan every move. Right now, a broken bone is not going to be good,” Favreau said.

Meanwhile, friends and supporters have rallied to help.

“Kirk realizes he has a group of friends that support him no matter what,” said Hale, a longtime friend.

The Favreau Fund has been established at the Atlantic Federal Credit Union on Pleasant Street, according to Bowdoin College.

Bracelets with the phrases “Support Favreau’s Fight Against ALS” and “Kirk’s Favorite Crew” can also be purchased to support Favreau. The bracelets are available at Libby’s Market on Jordan Avenue in Brunswick and Ruski’s Tavern in Portland.

Money raised goes to support Favreau — “For poker!” he jokes before turning serious again, noting he is looking to get a wheelchair.

Although there’s humor, there’s also been tears.

“We’ve cried enough to fill Casco Bay five times over,” said Paula.

However, Favreau said he is still living his life, and still working, and that makes him feel better.

“I am fighting it. I’m not just sitting down,” Favreau said.

He is trying to also use holistic remedies, is exploring acupuncture, and whatever other tools he can find to help slow the progression of the disease.

“I want people who hear about anything that helps to contact me,” Favreau said. “If rubbing pine needles on your ass helps, that’s fine. I’ll do it.”

“The biggest thing with Kirk is that he hasn’t lost his sense of humor,” said Favreau’s friend George Kakalis.

“If I say something, and it makes them laugh, then that’s healing,” Favreau said. “I try to keep the humor up, and that’s the best I can do.”

George Hale, brother of Brenda, has been Favreau’s friend for more than 30 years. He also works for Favreau at Bowdoin College, where he said Favreau’s attitude has earned the respect of his work crew.

“For him, it’s business as usual and he has ALS. All those silly, petty things go away. For lack of a better word, he’s an inspiration,” said George Hale. “Life’s thrown him a curve ball, and he’s still standing at the plate.”

DONATIONS TO THE Favreau Fund can be made in person at the credit union, or by mailing a check made out to The Favreau Fund, and sending it to Atlantic Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 188, Brunswick, ME 04011.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

THERE IS NO cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The disorder results in degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, according to the ALS Association, resulting in complete paralysis in the disease’s later stages.


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