Conway’s Greg Nobles has been living with MS (Multiple sclerosis) for 15 years.
MS is a disabling disease, which affects a person’s central nervous system.
His daughter, Bailey Smith, told the Log Cabin Democrat that in January 2019, her dad started dragging his foot. The family thought it was probably just an MS relapse. Then, in March, Greg had to start using a cane. By May, a walker and then in June, has to switch to a wheelchair.
Four neurologists later, Greg was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a specific disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles – on top of his MS, which is rare.
That was in late November.
Greg has owned the family hair salon, the Jordan Bailey Group, for 23 years. In that time, he and his family have garnered a wide array and variety of loyal clientele, including Conway local Christina Madsen.
Madsen said when she moved here five years ago, she had a that friend that pointed her in all the right directions; where to get her nails done, dentists, doctors and the best hair salon, which was Greg’s.
Over the years, she’s established a relationship with the family like any reoccuring customer would and noticed when Greg stopped working; many of them did.
“We were all very worried,” Madsen said. “It just started getting worse and worse.”
With the ALS diagnosis, everyone knew there was no cure, but there are ways to prolong and reduce pain. One of the ways to do that is through stem cell therapy.
“It’s very expensive,” Madsen said.
In November, Bailey created a GoFundMe page announcing their plans to raise money for HSCT (Hemoatopoetic Stem Cell Transplant). Treatments cost about $15,000 and have to be performed in Mexico, in a small town just right over the border; not to forget travel, hotel, food and more, the cost averages around $60,000.
Greg has already had two treatments so far.
“He is telling some difference,” Bailey said.
To keep them going, the family will need more help. That’s where Madsen comes in.
She and several others have banded together to help bring about a way to ease that financial burden.
“We all want to help,” Madsen said. “A lot of people felt helpless and wanted to do something.”
Bailey said Madsen approached her quickly after the family learned of the diagnosis and told her the plan to put together a large fundraising event for Greg.
“I don’t do anything small,” Madsen told the LCD. “I like to go big.”
She said she immediately went to her bandmates in their group, Just Cause.
“They all immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, this sounds wonderful,’” Madsen said.
Next, came the venue. Madsen reached out to the owner of Legacy Acres, Diane Kirkland – Kirkland’s husband died of ALS in 2004 – who said absolutely.
“Once we had a venue and a band, we were like, ‘Let’s do this,’” she said.
With the hair salon’s diverse clientele, people in all different kinds of industries, donations have been all over the place too from yoga lessons to art to beauty kits and more, anything to help Greg.
“It has been so cool watching everyone come forward and give,” Madsen said.
Of course, she said, nobody likes to ask for help, but the group made sure this event was happening and Greg and his family also plan to come out and be in attendance.
Bailey said they have been very shocked and overwhelmed at the support and love people have been showing them including his wife, Carla, his son, Jordan and his daughter Hailee, Bailey and her husband Chase, and their kids, Charleigh, Lennon and Sloane.
The fundraising event will start at 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at Legacy Acres.
“It will be a night of food — catered by S and I, and beverages by Stone Throw Brewing — fellowship, live music provided by Just Cause, and a silent auction,” the Facebook page reads. “All are welcome!”
Staff writer Hilary Andrews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.