SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — There was not a better day for Chris Yozwiak than to be in the yard with his children raking leaves into big piles and jumping in, but that was before ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“He’s been battling for four years, and that strong will has pursued through this journey of his, He’s a fighter and he doesn’t want to give up,” Jennifer Yozwiak said.
Chris was a businessman and was a big active guy. He can’t walk anymore or spend those crisp fall afternoons raking leaves and having fun with his family.
His son Brady came up with the idea he would rake for his dad and at the same time raise money to help in the fight against ALS.
Starting last year, his group Clayton Rakes, named after their street, has been raking yards, creating awareness and raising money for research.
“We pick different streets every week because we can’t just rake the same yard or the same street because it won’t have any leaves in it, so we go around to my friends’ neighborhoods and start raking leaves,” Brady said.
This group of about 50 to 60 children and other volunteers have been busy. Last year they raked like crazy around Hudson and raised $60 thousand for ALS research. This year, they hope to pass that goal.
ALS, right now, is incurable and there are no real treatments that help. That’s why funding new research has been the Yowsiak family’s only goal.
“We need people to understand what this disease is and how important it is to this community of people to have something any kind of treatment something to slow progression something to give life back into these people a chance a hope anything,” Jennifer said.
Sunday, Clayton Rakes raked a yard in Shaker Heights at 2711 Sherbrooke Road, with the Wesley family foundation and Phantom Fireworks matching every dollar raised.
Volunteers are welcome and so are much-needed donations that can be dropped off or given online.