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Jacob’s Run — A Measure of Community Love and Support

A parade of Mustangs and other sportscars participated in Jacob’s Run travels from the Eleanor Piggly Wiggly towards the Winfield Bridge. (Photo by B. Allen)

On Saturday, April 8, a procession of over fifty classic and modern sports cars rolled down Route 62 and 817 in support of Jacob Harper, a young man from Winfield who has Lou Gherig’s disease. Jacob has had a lifelong interest in Mustangs, and is a member of the Iron Horse Mustang Club. Jacob and his family rode at the head of the procession in his black and red 2006 Mustang GT, which was given to him by an anonymous donor after his ALS diagnosis.

Jacob’s Run was organized by the Iron Horse Mustang Club. Several other local car clubs participated in the event, including Cops and Rodders and the Nitro Antique Car Club. Participants gathered at the Piggly Wiggly in Eleanor and then crossed the Winfield bridge, traveling on Route 817 to the Buffalo bridge and then back to Route 62. After the run was completed, all participants gathered at the Eleanor Park for refreshments.

In March of 2022, Jacob, then twenty-three, was diagnosed with a rare form of juvenile amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that is caused by a mutation in the fused in sarcoma (FUS) gene. The onset of his symptoms occurred in November of 2021, when he developed a limp.

Patients with FUS-ALS have a life expectancy of 1 to 3 years, with most becoming terminal within the first twelve months. Less than 1% of sporadic ALS cases are FUS related. Jacob is currently participating in clinical trials for an experimental drug called ION363, which targets the defective gene and could potentially slow the progression of the disease.

Jacob and his family are members of the Winfield Baptist Church, and their faith is a great comfort and source of strength for them. Both the church and local community have been very supportive of Jacob and his family. A sign bearing the words “God’s got this,” hangs from the Winfield bridge in honor of Jacob. The sign has a reference to Joshua 1:9, which reads, “[…] Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

To learn more about Jacob’s battle with ALS, go to https://www.facebook.com/TeamJacobWV

Barb and Dale Harper, Jeff Martin, Creed the dog, and Jacob Harper pose for a photo in front of Jacob’s 2006 Mustang GT. (Photo by B. Allen)
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