Magic Show Supports ALS Research

2On Saturday, June 21 Magic for Merriment, an event hosting Doc Swan Entertainment will be held at the Milford Senior Center. The event, organized by Bill O’Brien, will benefit the Rehoboth Beach Walk to Defeat ALS. Money raised through the Walk to Defeat ALS supports vital patient service programs to help improve the quality of life of those battling ALS.

O’Brien began as a volunteer for the Rehoboth Walk to Defeat ALS several years ago after he learned that a friend of his was diagnosed with the disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. Bill’s friend lived 12 years with the disease and passed away just last year. After his friend’s death, O’Brien felt the need to help others that were dealing with ALS.

“You hope that while you are involved that they will find a cure for the people you care about,” commented O’Brien. “In all of the cases it has not been true so far but you continue on to honor them and push on with the walk to keep meaning to their life.” Currently, there is no cure ALS and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can extend survival.

In addition to raising money for research and awareness, the Walk to Defeat ALS also helps local families with the expenses of living with the disease, which according to The ALS Association can cost more than $200,000 per year. Through patient care management, assistive technology, a medical equipment loan program, respite care, support groups, and multidisciplinary ALS clinics, the organization provides essential assistance for patients and their families at every stage of the disease. The local chapter is also looking to establish a facility that can serve those with ALS on the Delmarva Peninsula.

“For a person with ALS traveling can be very difficult and painful,” said O’Brien. “The organization is looking to open a clinic in Salisbury where individuals with ALS and their families can meet with several medical professionals in one day, limiting their need for travel.”

Organizing the Magic for Merriment event on Saturday, June 21, O’Brien is creating a fun experience for families that want to support the Rehoboth Beach Walk to Defeat ALS. Doc Swan offers a one-man comedy variety show where he eats fire, tells jokes, plays music, walks bare-footed on broken glass, juggles and performs magic.

“It is a Tim Conway type of humor; good, clean family entertainment,” commented O’Brien. “We want people to have fun in addition to learning about ALS and how they can help out with awareness through the walk.”

Magic for Merriment will occur on Saturday June 21 at 1pm at the Milford Senior Center, located at 111 Park Ave in downtown Milford. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12 and can be purchased at the door or by contacting Bill O’Brien at 302-670-1759 or

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