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Roy, others raising money for ALS research


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Roy Family PHOTO
Eileen Wilson, Emily Roy, Shelly Roy, Patty Roy and Kathleen MacIntosh, who are some of the members of “Amazing Shel’s Belles.”Cheryl Sanderson

WINDHAM — Despite being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) a year ago, 69-year-old Salem resident Michele “Shelly” Roy has had a positive outlook on her situation and life.

With the help of family and friends, she is now raising money for research about the neuromuscular disease.

“If you are positive, it does help you get through the day,” said Roy, who grew up in Willimantic and is a former Ledyard High School teacher.

A bake sale is being held on Sunday at 1 p.m. at The Sports Bar on Boston Post Road in North Windham to raise money for the fundraiser. It will end when all of the items are sold.

The Hartford Walk to Defeat ALS is being held at Dunkin Park in Hartford at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Roy, her three sisters and her friends put together a team for the walk they named after Roy called “Amazing Shel’s Belles.”

Roy’s sister, Patty Roy, who is a sixth grade teacher at Windham Middle School, said the original goal was $2,000 and that was increased to $5,000. Currently, they’ve raised more than $7,000 and the goal is now $10,000.

“This is so much more than I thought we would get,” Patty Roy said.

Donation jars are currently set up at The Sports Bar, The Franco-American Civic & Social Club of Windham, Olympic Family Restaurant in Willimantic and The Trolley Pub in Willimantic.

There was also a raffle at The Sports Bar that raised $475 for the cause.

Fenton River Grill in Mansfield, Pleasant Pizza in Willimantic, Willimantic Brewing Company, Papa Gino’s in Mansfield, MONDO restaurant in Middletown, The Plum Tomato in Colchester, Sweet Peas Fine Foods in Brooklyn and Rein’s Deli in Vernon have all donated to the cause.

Shelly Roy said the support from the community for the walk has been “heartening” and “very humbling.”

She said the day she was diagnosed with ALS was one of the worst days of her life.

“It wasn’t even on my radar,” Roy said.

ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig Disease,” is a progressive, fatal disease. It causes people to lose their ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.

According to the ALS Association, approximately 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.

“She has an amazing spirit and attitude about this,” Patty Roy said. “We all have bad days. She just has a bad day and moves on and does what she can.”

She said her sister is still doing “as much as she can,” including volunteering at a local soup pantry.

“She has friends that will pick her up and drive her,” Patty Roy said.

The Roys’ friend, Columbia resident Cheryl Sanderson, said Shelly Roy is a very “upbeat” person and is taking it “one day at a time.”

“She certainly has days where she’s very discouraged,” she said.

Shelly Roy lives with her husband.

“He’s not comfortable leaving her alone any longer because she’s fallen,” Sanderson said.

Shelly Roy spoke highly of the care at Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, where she is being treated. She takes medication daily and visits the hospital every three months.

“I’m hoping to reach a plateau soon,” Shelly Roy said.

Sanderson said her friend can only use one hand and is walking with a walker.

Her friend was also planning to get a motorized wheelchair.

To donate to Amazing Shel’s Belles, visit HYPERLINK “”& HYPERLINK “”pg=entry, click on “find a team” and search for the team.

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