This year, the Harvard College Class of 1989 established a fund around its 20th Reunion for its classmate Jack Orchard, who was stricken with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The class raised over $100, 000 for stem cell research in ALS from approximately 50 classmates. Orchard was informed of the news just days before he died earlier this summer.
After he was diagnosed, Orchard created Extra Hands for ALS, an organization that connects high school and college volunteers to people with the disease. Victims of the disease lose control of their muscles, and eventually the ability to walk, talk, swallow, and breathe. The more than 1, 200 students who participated in the program visited with ALS families each week to do whatever needed to get done, whether that be the dishes, laundry, or just providing company.
Orchard’s story is that of a person who gave so much when he was physically at his weakest and continues to inspire those who knew him or learn of his strength.