Man’s last wish is to pass a van forward

Dan Keenan, who was diagnosed with ALS, needs a special van to accommodate his wheelchair. He hopes to leave it as a final legacy to another ALS patient in the future.



102512 Keenan van pic

Dan Keenan, who was diagnosed with ALS, needs a special van to accommodate his wheelchair. He hopes to leave it as a final legacy to another ALS patient in the future.

Friends of Dan Keenan describe him as a gentle and giving man.

He’s a former Nordic skier, high school football star, rancher and truck driver.

Even when facing his own mortality, his thoughts are with others stricken by the same disease, ALS.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, effects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. It strikes middle-aged men more than women and most die within 3-5 years of diagnosis.

Dan, 57, was diagnosed three years ago. He’s now in a wheelchair and has lost the use of his limbs.

“He’s very upbeat. He’s handled this probably better than anybody and he doesn’t like people to help him,” said his sister, Cindy Keenan.

The wheelchair is filled with computer equipment, making it heavy and cumbersome. Keenan is a tall man and most handicapped equipped vans are too small for his needs.

His family purchased a $40,000 custom van specifically made to accommodate the weight of the wheelchair and his height.

Not every family can make such a purchase when facing a terminal illness and Dan wants to help other ALS patients in the future.

“It’s one of his last wishes” Keenan said, while explaining her family’s effort to raise enough money to pay the bank note on the vehicle.“We still need $30,000,” she said.

Starting with a “Dinner for Dan,” there will be a number of fundraising events to help raise money for the van, she said.

The “Dinner for Dan” will take place from 4-8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Crossroads United Methodist Church., 599 30 Road. Dinner will be $10 per person or $30 per family.

Also, there will be a silent auction and cake walk. Auction items include two round-trip tickets to the Denver Stock Show. Other donations for the auction are needed.

Dan said there will be just a couple of rules for anybody who inherits his van. No smoking and there are no negative thoughts or communication allowed, Keenan said.

Dan still needs his van, but can’t stop thinking of those who also need it. “Knowing that we’ll be able to give it to someone would just mean so much to him,” Keenan said.

Direct donations and other event listings are at http://www.keenanvan.com.

 

 



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