VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — After much work, a local group was proud to announce the official foundation of (Josh’s Miracle) JT’s Angel Fund.
JT’s Angel Fund works to provide a crucial life raft for individuals in Virginia diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and their families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vision belonged to Virginia Beach native Josh Thompson before his passing last fall, but it’s mission spread to those close to him. Although a majority of those with ALS are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70, Josh was in his early thirties at the time of his diagnosis.
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Josh’s father, Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson, along with the Virginia Gentlemen Foundation, a nonprofit group, raised over $30 million to fulfill Josh’s vision of providing research funding for ALS and to build facilities for people with disabilities.
“Last November, just before he took his last breath,” Bruce Thompson recalled. “Josh said to me ‘Dad, can we do something to help families with ALS who have financial hardships?’ We discussed both the tremendous financial burden families experience when caring for an ALS patient, and the potential for the caregiver or spouse to either lose their job or contract COVID. His final request was to help those suffering with this horrific disease and that is what we are doing.”
Through the creation of the foundation, emergency financial assistance can be used to relieve financial burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for eligible ALS families in Virginia.
Simple, short grant applications are currently being accepted through JT’s Angel Fund for funding that helps with rent and mortgage payments, utility expenses, installments, in-home care, maintenance fees, taxes, insurance costs, and childcare expenditures for those with ALS who are eligible for relief.
Thompson’s team for the virtual JT Walk this year raised $200,000. The money will be distributed through JT’S Angel Fund to more than 40 Virginia families struggling financially and have expenses that need to be paid.
Grants will generally be made in amounts up to $5,000 to reimburse applicants or pay providers, vendors, or a company for specific expenses. Currently, the grants are limited to one-time requests.
Those involved are working together to determine eligibility and administer funds throughout the Christmas season and beyond.
In addition, the passionate surfer helped launch the wheelchair-accessible, beachside playground known as JT’s Grommet Island Park; a children’s ambulance for Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters; and JT’s Camp Grom, an adventure camp for children with disabilities and wounded veterans, as well as their families.
To donate to JT’s Angel Fund, click here.
According to those with JT’s Angel Fund, as many as 30,000 people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with ALS, with 5,000 new cases being identified each year. They say there is no current cure for the progressive neuromuscular disease, despite improved research and treatments that can help people live longer, more productive lives.