Bob Waker looked pretty happy for someone behind bars.
But Waker, a long time Craig resident, wasn’t there for anything he did. He was there for what he hopes to do.
“It just rips your heart out to think that some of these people won’t get a chance,” he said. “This stuff just eats you up. We have to do whatever it takes as an individual or community to help the cause.”
Waker volunteered to be “locked up” Thursday at the Golden Cavvy Restaurant & Lounge as one of 31 “jailbirds” hoping to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of its 2010 Craig Lock-Up.
The event entailed taking volunteers and locking them up inside the Cavvy. Then, they could call people in the community to raise money to bail them out. The MDA raised about $11,000 on Thursday in Craig.
The total raised was $3,000 more than the original $8,000 goal, organizers said.
Muscular dystrophy describes 43 diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of voluntary muscles. Many of the diseases can vary in age onset, rate of progression and muscles affected.
MDA’s Western Slope office in Grand Junction hosted the event. The office puts on about 12 Lock-Ups a year across the Western Slope. Thursday’s was the first Lock-Up in Craig since 2006.
“Anything that I can do to help, I’d be happy to,” Waker said. “We all need to pitch in and do what we can to help these folks that get hit with these big medical bills.”
Money raised from the event goes to help fund patient services such as vaccinations, clinic visits, equipment and special programs such as the MDA Summer Camp.
MDA supports more than 1,800 clients in Colorado.
“We try to help offset the costs of their burden,” MDA district director Terri Hasstedt said. “Especially in this economy, they’re hurting just as much as everyone else with all these bills to pay on top.
“People with muscular dystrophy are going to go from walking to needing a walker or cane, to a scooter, to a wheelchair so quickly, that most of the time their insurance can’t keep up with that flow.”
The MDA’s funding is two-fold.
In addition to what MDA calls the “help for today,” which is day-to-day costs of those with muscular dystrophy, the MDA also helps with “hope for tomorrow,” which funds more than 300 research projects across the world looking for a cure.
“These diseases are genetic so we hope that once we find a cure to one, we will automatically be able to start finding cures for the others because they should be related,” Hasstedt said.
The MDA has been doing lock-ups for more than 15 years and Hasstedt said the success of the fundraiser is in its fun.
“The whole jail-bail theme, getting your mug shot, getting picked up by the posse, talking with your parole officers, getting dressed up, really makes it fun and enjoyable for everyone involved,” she said.
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com.