LHS Student’s Cruisin’ For A Cure Coming Downtown
By Suzzi Romines, feature writer
Logan Lawrence (right) at the first Cruisin’ for a Cure Car Show in 2017.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Logan Lawrence, a Lawrenceburg High School senior in Lawrenceburg, Indiana has a resume that reads of an accomplished, young leader; Academic Team Math Captain, Class President, Varsity Basketball Captain, Dearborn County Lilly Endowment Finalist, Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner and Prudential Spirit of Community State Finalist. Logan has committed to Purdue University to study Biomedical Engineering in the fall, but where his efforts have also been greatly appreciated is in his hometown and the tristate area for his commitment to bringing awareness and funding for ALS. With the help of nearly 50 volunteers who believed in him, Logan has raised thousands of dollars through his annual car show for ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease he is most familiar with; the disease that took the life of his grandfather, Carlos Lawrence in 2009.
In early 2017, Logan Lawrence, a third generation NHRA racer at Edgewater Sports Park, had plans and goals to host his first ever car show in honor of his grandfather who also loved racing. Logan, following his dad’s and grandfather’s love for cars, set a goal to raise $10,000 for ALS research and to have 200 cars registered for the event. The results far surpassed Logan’s longing as 425 classic car owners traveled from all across the country to support Logan and ALS. Following the event, Logan was delighted to invite representatives of the Indiana ALS Association to his high school gymnasium and present them with a check for $15,000.
ALS, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Essentially, the motor neurons that carry impulses from the brain through the spinal cord to the central nervous system increasingly deteriorate and eventually die off, resulting in a lost connection between the impulse or signal from the brain to the muscles they control. The brain then cannot signal the affected muscles to respond to voluntary movement such as to reach for items like a fork or a cell phone or to voluntarily step up on a porch or even to take a deep breath. The muscles then harden (sclerosis) and progressively, the muscles in the body become paralyzed. Depending on the location within the body that these motor neurons die, some people diagnosed with ALS are left with limited or no use of their hands or limbs, the loss of speech, the ability to care for themselves, and swallowing and breathing are often challenging or altered. Patients in the later stages of ALS are often placed on ventilators and administered feeding tubes to be kept alive. Several common, early onset symptoms associated with this disease include: experiencing difficulty in buttoning a shirt, stumbling for unknown reasons, and unexplained twitching or slurred speech. ALS is often diagnosed in patients between 40 and 70 years of age and the average life expectancy when faced with this disease is just 2 – 5 years from the time of diagnosis. ALS affects over 20,000 people at any given time in the U.S. and 450,000 people worldwide. Presently, there is no known cure but with funding…research, programs and policies can be enhanced and another forward step to saving lives.
In 2008, when Logan was just eight years old, Logan’s grandfather Carlos Lawrence, a well-respected business owner and car enthusiast was experiencing startling health concerns. Difficulty in sleeping and breathing were two of the initial symptoms recognized. After a physician’s evaluation and recommended diagnostic testing, ALS, a difficult disease to substantiate was confirmed.
Carlos gradually lost his ability to speak and experienced trouble walking. During the weeks and months to follow, Carlos also lost the ability to breathe on his own. Carlos was admitted the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and later to the Drake Center, where he was placed on a ventilator. Logan visited his grandpa every day. Although he could no longer talk, Carlos and Logan communicated by writing back and forth on a dry erase board. Carlos Lawrence passed away just one year after being diagnosed. He was just 67. “My grandpa meant a lot to me and to our whole family, and now I want to continue to honor him and others who are diagnosed with ALS,” said Logan.
Along with his family and volunteers, plans are now well underway for the second annual Cruisin’ to a Cure for ALS car show. This year the event will be held on Sunday, May 6th, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the streets within downtown Lawrenceburg with anticipation of more entries and awareness and even more funding for ALS as the expected 3,000 or more spectators come to Lawrenceburg, Indiana for the event.
Due to his efforts in 2017, Logan was honored by the ALS Association, and received special recognition and support by Mayor Kelly Mollaun and the City of Lawrenceburg for his commitment to such an important cause. “When Logan approached me about moving the car show to downtown Lawrenceburg in 2018, he didn’t have to convince me of anything based on the hugely successful event he pulled off in 2017. Anything we can do to support volunteer efforts, such as Logan’s, while showcasing our downtown is a win win.” – Mayor Kelly Mollaun
Paul Rinderknecht of Cincinnati, Ohio also expressed his dedication to Logan’s event. Paul was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2016. As the father of two young children, Paul realizes the need for support. “This disease has put an enormous physical, mental and financial strain on me and my family,” said Rinderknecht. “Advocacy creates awareness which leads to critical funding necessary to solve this problem. I am honored to be a part of this event again this year.”
Logan invites everyone to downtown Lawrenceburg on May 6 as a participant or spectator. There is something for everyone including: the best of classic vehicles, a kids’ area, D.J., local choir performances, food, and a morning church service offered by the Kentucky Race Way Ministries beginning at 10:30 a.m. Additional public parking will be available in the BMV parking lot on Front and Tate Streets, and also at the Ivy Tech Community College parking garage at Walnut and High Streets.
“I want to thank my family, friends, girlfriend, Emma Pennington, Randy and Shirley Crouch, Mike Shea, Lawrence Motor Sports, Brandon Messmore and Jeff Wyler of Lawrenceburg, the City of Lawrenceburg, sponsors, participants and spectators for the support they have shown to me,” said Logan. “The 2017 inaugural event was a huge success and very humbling to achieve and I am looking forward to this year’s show. “It’s just a way to honor my grandpa, and others who are faced with ALS.”
If interested in entering a classic or modern car or truck, race car, or motorcycle for the second annual “Cruisin’ to a Cure for ALS” car show, early registration is now through April 15th. The day of the show registration is from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. with awards at 4 p.m. (rain or shine). There will be $1,000 in cash prizes along with Cruisin’ to a Cure for ALS trophies awarded in various categories including 20 specialty trophies, top 50 classic (1985 and older), and top 25 modern (1986 to present). Logan Lawrence can be reached for additional information at (513) 532.7261, email at email@example.com, or through the “Cruisin’ To A Cure for ALS” Facebook page. Donations for ALS are greatly appreciated. Contributions can be mailed to Cruisin’ to a Cure for ALS, c/o Friendship State Bank, P.O. Box 357, Friendship, IN 47021. For more information regarding ALS and support and resources for individuals and families, visit www.alsa.org.