Daring Support

FINDLEY LAKE – What began as a dare has turned into a sign of support for one area man diagnosed with ALS.

The friends and family of Kevin Hoitink, a Findley Lake resident diagnosed with ALS three and a half years ago, began showing their support and raising awareness by painting their toenails red.

According to Kevin’s wife, Cathy, the idea of painting toenails started off as a joke one week before this past Easter and took off.

“(Kevin) doesn’t like the color red,” she said. “He allowed (a family friend) to paint his toenails if she also painted her own toenails. It started out as a dare.”

According to Hoitink, dogs, cats and horses have also been pictured with painted toenails. Individuals have shown support from Texas, Florida, Washington, Canada and even Switzerland, by utilizing the hashtags #alsawareness and #redtoecampaign on Facebook.

“Over 500 people have painted their toenails in support,” she said.

Hoitink was chief of the Findley Lake Fire Department until he was diagnosed with ALS.

According to Hoitink, her husband will be taken off of ventilator support later this week. She is currently working on a video that will play at his funeral which is centered around photographs of painted toenails.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

For more information about the disease, visit www.alsa.org.

To view the submitted photographs of toenails, search Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) on Facebook.