Mike Gula loves cars and his grandmother.
So it seems only natural that the Oxford resident decided to use one to help the other.
Gula is organizing a charity car show for Sunday, Aug. 13 in the parking lot of the Legacy Center, located at 925 N. Lapeer Rd.
It will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s totally free to enter and totally free to visit,” said Gula, who noted participants and spectators will be encouraged to make voluntary donations to the Michigan chapter of the ALS Association, which fights the disease on four fronts – medical research, care services, public education and public policy.
Gula will begin his fifth and final year with the Oxford Schools Early College program this fall and the car show will serve as his required capstone project.
His 70-year-old grandmother, Judy Tamagno, who lives in Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) two years ago.
“She’s in a wheelchair now,” Gula said.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
“Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body,” states the ALS Association website www.alsa.org. “The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”’
Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist, discovered ALS in 1869, but it didn’t receive widespread attention until 1939 when legendary New York Yankee Lou Gehrig was forced to retire from baseball because of it. He was only 36 and died two years later.
Gula’s grandmother’s diagnosis came as quite a shock.
“No one else in our family had it,” he said.
Gula, who works part-time at the Oxford McDonald’s, is hoping for a large turnout at the car show. Right now, he’s seeking folks willing to display their exotic cars, muscle cars, custom cars, classic cars and motorcycles.
“Basically, anything that’s special, anything you wouldn’t see every day on the street, is welcome,” he said.
Gula is hoping for approximately 170 to 200 vehicles and bikes because that’s how many parking spaces will be available for display purposes. Entrees will be judged and prizes awarded in various categories, he noted.
Food, music and a 50/50 raffle will also be part of the fun.
For more information, visit the Facebook page entitled “Oxford Charity Car Show.”