Auction at Elks to aid ailing boy

KINGMAN ­ Community members will have an opportunity Saturday to help Chris Bates, a Kingman High School junior afflicted with muscular dystrophy.

An auction will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on Gates Ave. Gregg Cummins, who teaches biology, health and earth science at KHS North, is coordinating it.

"We need to get a chair lift to put on the back of the family vehicle," Cummins said. "I've been given an estimate of about $1,500 locally, and we may be able to get one cheaper on E-Bay."

Bates has the Duchenne type of muscular dystrophy, which mainly strikes boys. It results from the mutation of genes that regulate dystrophin ­ a protein involved in muscle fiber integrity. Onset normally occurs between ages 3-5. By age 12, it progresses to a point where boys cannot walk and by 20 require a respirator to breathe.

Bates has been unable to walk since age 12 when he broke the femur in his left leg in a fall at home.

In June, Bob and Joyce Jones donated a Permobil Chairman Entra motorized wheelchair for him. Linda Smith, their daughter, had used it until she died in April at age 46 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease."

A representative of the Kingman Elks has offered to pay the bill for the new batteries that power the chair, Cummins said.

Cummins has been soliciting other support for the auction since May. He has received a $100 check from We Care, a local firm that offers medical attire and which challenges others to match the donation.

A Larry Fitzgerald autographed football game jersey from the Phoenix Cardinals will be among items available. Cummins said he went on the Internet and found such authentic jerseys sell for $299.

A Phoenix Suns basketball also will be auctioned.

In addition, Cummins has pledges of support from such local businesses as Oceans Avenue, The Outer Limitz, Ace Hardware, and True Value Hardware.

Two rounds of golf and use of a cart from Valle Vista Country Club also will be auctioned.

"The Elks are having their annual golf tournament that day," Cummins said. "That may help because there will be 100 or so golfers walking around and maybe some of them will have a couple of extra dollars."

Anyone wishing to donate money or merchandise to the auction may call Cummins at 753-6929.