A Wattsburg man battling ALS now has a new way to get around, after a remarkable experience. He was a guest of honor as the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrated Lou Gehrig Day.
In October 2019, Danny Wingerter was diagnosed with ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.
Wingerter has been battling ALS and struggling to get around, but now he is receiving some big league generosity.
“How excited he was, he came out in a regular manual wheelchair and when he saw the new chair, as soon as he could, he jumped up and drove away. That wasn’t really part of the plan, that was kinda what he did when he saw it.” said Judy Wingerter, Danny’s sister.
Danny says he was excited about the new day. The new chair, the fans watching, the atmosphere, Wingerter says he feels like everyone won.
“They won, so that was nice. We saw many different pitchers going in.” Wingerter said.
Danny’s sister Judy says all of the help from multiple organizations has made their lives a little easier.
“You just do what you have to do day by day, but it’s nice that somebody is thinking for you because we’re just kind of putting one foot in front of the other, so it’s nice that there’s someone like the ALS association.” Wingerter said.
Judy says the ALS Association, the Live Like Lou foundation and the wheelchair manufacturer Permobil made it possible for Danny to receive the chair. She says ,along the way, they have received equipment that makes traveling and getting around more accessible.
“The chair is actually a $65,000 chair and his insurance wasn’t willing to cover the level of wheelchair he needed, so this is going to change his life.” said Ryan Reczek, Executive Director of the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania.