The fundraiser for Chris Becker is a bit unusual in that all his family is asking for is a free will offering.
Becker and his wife, MaryAnn thought a lot about the free will offering concept. He understands if people can’t afford to help.
“The economy is hard right now,” the 35-year-old McHenry man said. “A lot of people can’t help out, but they can pray. We have a strong faith.”
His faith has him deal with the rare diseases that have left him unable to work, walk unassisted or do simple tasks.
It started with lower back pain in May 2011. The symptoms began getting worse so he went to a doctor. He ended up going to 18 doctors who ran countless tests trying to figure out what was wrong.
He was finally diagnosed Adult Onset Stills disease, which is a rare inflammatory condition. Stills disease can lead to chronic arthritis and other conditions, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. He carries a gene that causes inflammation, he said.
Becker has developed other illnesses including ankylosing spondylitis with arthritis, sphincter of oddi dysfunction, fibromyalgia, IBS, Degenerative disc and spine disease, chronic pain and fatigue, anxiety/depression. Ankylosing spondylitis is the inflammation of the immune system, he said.
Before he became sick, he was a general manager for 1-800-Got-Junk? He and MaryAnn have been married for eight years and have a 7-year-old son. Becker grew up in the area and is a Jacobs High School graduate, Class of 1996.
He resigned from his job in March 2012 because he could no longer do the job due to the pain. It would take him an hour to get out of bed and he needs help dressing, he said. He now uses a cane to get around, a shower chair and a hospital bed.
While the Becker family has insurance, there are still many medical bills, a mortgage, food and other expenses. He still faces more surgeries and hospitalizations.
It has been hard for the family to ask for help with donations, however, they need all the help possible, he said. Becker has been denied Social Security Disability twice even though he has three conditions that fit the disability requirements. He is appealing the latest denial.
“I still suffer from anxiety. I get depressed because I can’t do the things I use to do,” Becker said.
What helps him get through is faith and family.
“Those are two key things. If I didn’t have that faith and trust in God and my family didn’t support me through all of this, I don’t know what kind of life I would have,” he said.
The Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for Chris Becker will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10 at Immanuel Lutheran School 300 S. Pathway Court, Crystal Lake. The school’s Kids of the Kingdom donated all the items. Matching funds will be provided by Thrivent.
The Becker family is a member of the church. Chris Becker’s brother is a teacher at the school and his father is principal of Immanuel Lutheran School in East Dundee.
Becker relies on his lifelong faith, but there are questions sometimes.
“You ask ‘why me,’ but I tell people God has a plan for me,” he said. “There’s something when this storm settles down. There’s a plan and he will use me in some way.”