Thieves target Montcalm County family raising money for ALS medical bills


MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. — A Montcalm County family whose loved one has ALS is facing added stress after thieves repeatedly stole gifts from them.

If you are on M-46 near Six Lakes you may have seen a large sign that says “Stockwell ALS team can drive, thanks for your donation”.

“This sign was put up by my husband’s friend to help us with all his needs,” Julie Stockwell told FOX 17.

Inside the house are the signs of ALS toll on James after he was diagnosed in 2019.

“It’s a horrible, horrible disease,” Julie said.

In May, Julie and James will celebrate their 14th birthday.

“We met when my friend was hanging out with a friend of his and they didn’t want me to be a third wheel when they went bowling. So they invited him over and we’ve been dating ever since,” Julie said.

The two have been inseparable ever since. Now they face their biggest challenge: James is getting the care he needs as he battles the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

It is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

“Our insurance would pay 100% for private nursing, with RNs and LPNs, but they can’t find any,” says Julie. “So we’re paying out of pocket probably close to $1,000 a week to take care of him.”

A friend of a friend and nursing student came to help the Stockwell family and pay for that help. The family relies on donations to cover the costs.

These donations have been collected several times over the past few weeks.

“If you really needed the money, we’re the kind of family that if you came knocking on the door, we’d give you the money. But for someone to come to our house…and technically, we We have a listing there, welcoming donations, not taking donations. So in my opinion, not only did you rob us and steal these caregivers’ paychecks, but you trespassed,” Julie added. .

The family hopes that newly installed trail cameras, which are meant to catch potential game, can help identify who is stealing them.

“We don’t want to deter people from donating; we welcome them, we appreciate them, because it helps provide care for him. And without that, I don’t know what we would do,” Julie said. .

Michigan State Police confirm they are investigating. So if you have any information, call them.

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