HAMLET — A daughter’s love for a mother battling Lou Gehrig’s disease will take the form of an all-day fundraiser Saturday featuring a yard sale, live music and games.
April Medlock organized the benefit for her mother, Sandra Rutherford of Hamlet, who was diagnosed with ALS in June 2012. The event will take place at Church of God of Prophecy at 615 Cheraw Road off N.C. 177 South in Hamlet.
Rutherford, who will turn 62 next month, has been battling the disease that began in her tongue and caused her to lose the ability to talk and eat. She’s been on a feeding tube since August 2012 and lost the ability to talk three months later.
She also hasn’t been able to walk since last December, but that hasn’t stopped Rutherford, who taught Sunday school for 30 years, from spreading her faith.
“She’s still teaching Sunday school in her way,” Medlock said. “She’s an inspiration to so many people.”
Rutherford now does an devotion on Facebook at 4:30 a.m. each day so people can read it before they go to work. It takes her two hours to type it on her iPad. With her muscles slowly failing her, Rutherford is experimenting at home with Eye Gaze, a communication device that tracks eye movement and types it out.
Rutherford, a certified nursing assistant from 1994 until January 2013, has been married for 45 years to her husband James and has three children, son Robert and daughters April and Becky.
“People say I always have a smile on my face,” Rutherford wrote in a prepared statement. “Haven’t you heard the saying: ‘It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile?’ Why would I wanna waste my muscles on a frown? I’m not dying with ALS, but living with it.”
Saturday’s benefit begins with a mega yard sale from 7 a.m. to noon, volleyball tournament at 8 a.m. and cornhole tournament at 11 a.m. The price for volleyball is $50 per team while the price for cornhole will be $40 per team.
There also will be a bounce house and face painting for the kids as well as $7 barbecue plates available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A silent auction will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring a two-night stay at Buck House Inn, a bed and breakfast north of Asheville, and a $500 gift card to Pinehurst Resort. The day will end with gospel singing at 6 p.m. featuring Harvester’s Quartet and the Rutherfords.
For tickets to the event, contact April Medlock at 919-775-9925 or Robert Rutherford at 910-334-1142.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-997-3111, ext. 18.