More than $23,000 was raised during a benefit for Michael Hale called "A Time to Shine" at DeKalb County High School Thursday evening.
Hundreds enjoyed a barbeque meal in the cafeteria and a concert of gospel and bluegrass music in the gymnasium by "Holy Crossing', "Right on Time", and Dailey & Vincent". After the music, a benefit auction was held.
Spokesperson Casey Agee says a total of $23,200 was raised just on that one night alone from ticket sales to the supper, sales of tee shirts, the auction, and from donations.
All the money raised during the benefit goes to Michael Hale who is struggling to recover from the Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a disease he has suffered from since May.
Hale, who is on oxygen, attended the benefit and tearfully greeted well wishers throughout the evening.
Hale told WJLE that he is slowly getting better. "On Monday night, May 19th, I was fine at nine o'clock but at ten o'clock that night, it came on me. I went in the hospital on May 20th. It's been a tough three and a half months but the good Lord has been with us all the way. I'm slowly getting better. I'm still going through physical therapy. I'm having some issues with my heart, my lungs, and other things. I'm on oxygen but I'm getting better everyday and I know it's because of the prayers and the good Lord. We're going to make it on through."
"As far as recovery, the doctors are saying it'll take probably 18 to 24 months, but I'm hoping to be back out soon. They say that the nerves heal back at the rate of an inch per month so that tells you how slow the healing process of Guillain-Barre is. I've been able to go to church. I've had the opportunity to preach four times at church. As far as the funeral home (DeKalb Funeral Chapel), I've been able to be at three funerals, but it just really drains me. I'm slowly getting to come back and to see the people."
Hale says he and his family are touched by the tremendous show of love and support from the community. "No words could ever say how Tara and I feel for everything that's been done for us, for the money that's been given, the presence of the people here today, the cards, food, their continued support of the funeral home, and our ministry. The people of DeKalb County have been wonderful to us and there's no way we could ever repay or express how much it means to us."
Michael's wife Tara also expressed her gratitude to the community." I just want to thank the people for their support and their love. We couldn't have done it without them but most of all we couldn't have done it without the good Lord."
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the Peripheral Nervous System. Characterized by muscle weakness, paralysis of the limbs, and breathing muscles, onset of the disorder is sudden and unexpected. It can develop over hours or days, or may take up to a month. Though possibly life threatening due to symptoms , most patients will recover from even the most severe cases.