HOOD RIVER, Ore. — A Hood River man is getting an outpouring of community support to help him realize a bucket list dream.
In November, Terry Smith was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, also known as ALS. Doctors gave him three to five years to live and fewer with the ability to drive. He wanted to spend that precious time driving across the country in an RV, exploring landmark sights and connecting with family.
“I'm just ready to hit the road and make the most of what I can,” said Smith, 50. “Hopefully spread some good vibes to other people who need it.”
Only on problem? Smith didn’t own an RV.
That's where Smith's ex-wife and dear friend, Shannon Foster stepped in. She set up a GoFundMe account, organized a raffle and rallied countless local businesses to collect donations. Within weeks, she'd raised enough money to buy terry's RV.
“The reality of it all set in and after that it just became this driving force for me to make good things happen for him,” said Foster. “I think we've accomplished that."
Foster and Smith share a 13-year-old daughter named Talula. Mother and daughter plan to join Smith on parts of his trip.
“I'm just happy to have him live his dream,” said Talula. “He's an awesome guy, he's so loving, so caring. Who wouldn't like him?”
Smith spent the last 15 years working as a floor manager at Rosauers Supermarkets in Hood River. Across the parking lot from the grocery store, Tilly Jane's Bar & Grill will host a fundraiser for Smith on Feb. 26. On that day they'll donate 50% of their profits to fund Smith’s bucket list trip.
“We're going to do our best to raise as much as possible,” said Tilly Jane's owner Laurel Gray. “That's one thing about Hood River is that this town always rallies behind people.”
Smith said he’s overwhelmed by the community support. He can’t wait to begin his trip and make the most of the time he has left.
“I would just to thank the community of Hood River for just being there for me and supporting me,” said Smith.