MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. — A family in Montcalm County whose loved one has ALS is dealing with extra stress after thieves have stolen donations from them multiple times.
If you're on M-46 near Six Lakes, you might have seen a big sign that says "Team Stockwell ALS can drive, thank you for your donation."
"This sign was put up by my husband's friend to help us with any kind of needs he has," Julie Stockwell told FOX 17.
Inside the home are the signs of the toll ALS has on James following his diagnosis in 2019.
"It's horrible, horrible illness," Julie said.
In May, Julie and James are going to celebrate their 14th anniversary.
"We met when my friend was dating a friend of his and they didn't want me to be a third wheel when they were going bowling. So, they invited him along and we dated ever since," Julie said.
The two have been inseparable since then. Now they face their biggest challenge: James having the care he needs as he battles the illness, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
It's a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure that affects the brain and spinal cord nerve cells.
"Our insurance would pay for private duty nursing at 100%, with RNs and LPNs, but they can't find any," says Julie. "So we pay out of pocket probably close to $1,000 a week for care for him."
A friend of a friend and a nursing student has come to aid the Stockwell family and pay for that help. The family relies on donations to help cover the costs.
Those donations have been taken multiple times in the past few weeks.
"If you really needed the money, we're the type of family that if you came and knocked on the door, we'd give you money. But for someone to come to our home... and technically we have a sign up there welcoming donations, not taking donations. So, in my opinion, not only did you steal from us and steal from these caregivers' paycheck, you trespassed," Julie added.
The family hopes recently installed trail cams, which are to meant to catch potential game, can lead to an identification of who's stealing from them.
"We don't want to deter the people that are leaving the donations; we welcome them, we appreciate them, because that helps provide care for him. And without that, I don't know what we'd do," Julie said.
Michigan State Police confirms they are investigating. So, if you have any information, give them a call.
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