A former Fairhaven teacher and current junior varsity Old Rochester Basketball head coach has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Glenn Gardner has been on the Old Rochester Girls Basketball coaching staff for over 10 years. He was also a teacher at Hastings Middle School and coached girls' field hockey, softball and basketball in Fairhaven. He and his family received the tough news just before the holidays.

Despite the ALS diagnosis, Glenn has decided to finish the season with his JV girls team. The team had no idea about their coach's battle until this week. Gardner's wife Paula says that he didn't want to upset the girls and wanted them to fully enjoy their season without worries.

"He wants the players to have a good time," Paula said.

Gardner's wife says that the effects of ALS has, at times, made it difficult to coach.

"His breathing can become labored, he's struggled with his voice when he's trying to yell out to the court," she said. "He's also sometimes doesn't have the strength to take shots or show the girls how to throw the ball around the court." Standing or sitting for long periods of time can also be a challenge for the seasoned coach.

While there is no cure for ALS, there is a medication that can slow down the progression of the disease and ease the symptoms. The medicine, however, is very costly.

Friends and family have organized a comedy fundraiser on March 13 at the Century House in Acushnet.

"We've had a lot of friends and residents reach out. Everyone is praying for him and offering help out if needed around the house. We're touched very deeply," Paula said.

The comedy fundraiser lists Frank O'Donnell as the headline comic. Appetizers will be served and an auction will follow the show. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased from the following people:

  • Cathy Silva at the East Fairhaven School
  • Karen Arsentault at Hastings Middle School
  • Linda DaCosta at Fairhaven High School
  • Bill Tilden at ORR
  • Kelly Ochoa at ORR
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