Tackling ALS headline
Friday, August 21, 2022
By JEFF GATES Contributing Writer
Get your popcorn ready.
Or at least a milkshake or ice cream sundae.
This Fall, the Buffalo Bills are celebrating year number 50 as part of professional football. The Bills were one of the original American Football League franchises along with franchises in New York, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City.
It was more than 40 years ago when Jim Blakeslee and Les Takacs met in that great Western New York sports town. This Sunday, Takacs helps honor the memory of his friend with a Cruise-In (as well as raffle and auction) at Takacs Family Ice Cream, 129 W. High St. in London from 5-8 p.m. The proceeds of the day will benefit amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease which claimed Blakeslee"s life in 2005. This is the third year that Takacs" business has hosted the event.
The Blakeslee/Takacs bond began when both worked at the famed Roswell Park in Buffalo, America"s first cancer center. At the time, Blakeslee was working on his doctorate, while Takacs described his duties as less glamorous.
"I was a flunky," Takacs said. "I worked in the lab taking care of animals."
Even when Takacs departed for the Army in 1967, the two kept in touch. As fate would have it, they would be reunited in Central Ohio in the early 1970s. Starting in the 1980s, both families lived in the London area.
While Sunday"s car show is free to attend, there will be several opportunities for people to donate to ALS on that day. According to Blakeslee"s daughter Liz"who has spearheaded many ALS-benefiting events"her father was a big sports fan including the Buffalo Bills and hockey"s Buffalo Sabres, and of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Therefore, it seems only fitting that highlighting the raffle will be an exclusively-autographed photo of London native and NFL legend Dick LeBeau (who served as a coach for one season with the bills during his 51-year tenure in the NFL), commemorating the dinner held in LeBeau"s honor at London High School in June. Other raffle items include prints from local artist Kim Lattimer, and Ohio State University print signed by two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, donations by local merchants (including Ronetti"s, Picadillies, Gabrielle"s of London, etc.) and gift certificates to such places as Ann and Tony"s, Montgomery Inn, and the Red Brick.
The live auction items include Cincinnati Bengals tickets, a pair of tickets to the OSU-Wisconsin football game, a stay at Alexandra"s Bed and Breakfast, and Longaberger Baskets. The baskets were donated by Walt Keigley, whose wife Karen succumbed to ALS last year.
Since Jim"s passing less than four years ago, the Blakeslee family has continued its fight against this yet-incurable disease. To date, the Blakeslee fund raising efforts have totaled more than $20,000.
The Blakeslees hope to add to that total Sunday with this great event in memory of an even greater man.
~Best viewed with a positive attitude~