Bill Gabel, Tigard, Oregon
Gabel family in Mexico in 2011
Family can provide people with a belief that they can surmount anything, even a deadly disease such as ALS. Since receiving his ALS diagnosis in March 2011, Wilbur (Bill) Gabel has depended on the support of his wife Virginia and their three children, Dustin, 29, Ryan, 27, and Chelsea, 24, to battle ALS.
Aside from receiving his family’s love and encouragement, Gabel also relies on The ALS Association’s Oregon and SW Washington Chapter to fight this neurodegenerative disease. This month, the chapter will honor Gabel and his family for raising public awareness about the disease and for exemplifying the spirit of “ALS Across America” during ALS Awareness Month.
“Bill and his family are truly inspirational,” said the chapter’s Executive Director Lance Christian, LMSW. “Despite Bill’s diagnosis, the Gabels continue to live life to the fullest, embracing and enjoying their time with family and friends.”
When he is not working at Interstate Roofing as a sales executive and project manager, Gabel spends time with the chapter to raise awareness of the disease. Within nine months of receiving his diagnosis, he joined the chapter during its annual Walk to Defeat ALSŪ event in Portland in September 2011. His team, “Wilbur’s Walkers,” which consisted of 225 people, including Gabel’s immediate and extended family, friends and co-workers, raised more than $21,500, making “Wilbur’s Walkers” a top team in the chapter’s service area.
“They have an amazing support system of friends and family, and as they get more involved with The ALS Association, this support system grows,” Christian said. “We are honored to support the Gabel family during their journey with ALS.”
The family also participates in the chapter’s monthly patient and caregiver support groups in Portland. In addition, they attend all the chapter’s events and host and partake in various awareness and fundraising activities at Virginia’s employer, the Copper Monkey Restaurant and Bar, where she works as general manager.
Gabel and his loved ones plan to participate in ALS Awareness Month activities on a local level by continually educating others about Lou Gehrig’s Disease.