Two personal events made Adam and Jen Share want to use their business to help fund research for ALS.
The first was the Oct. 11, 1993, death of Adam's uncle, James Douglas Share. The Pataskala resident was 43 when he died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
People with ALS eventually lose the ability to control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis, according to the website of the ALS Association's Central and Southern Ohio chapter, with offices on Old Henderson Road.
It wasn't that long for James Share, the youngest of three children but the first to die.
"I guess I was too young to even know what it was," Adam Share recalled. "The disease progressed really rapidly. He might have lived maybe a year, maybe 11 months, after the diagnosis."
More recently, the Westerville residents, owners of the Jersey Mike's Subs at 4249 N. High St., came to realize that a formerly regular customer's visits were becoming more and more infrequent. That's because the Rev. Bill Croy, formerly the pastor at Maple Grove United Methodist Church, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. He stepped down from the pulpit that same year and since has become active in fundraising efforts for the ALS Association, including participating with his team, Bill's Backers, in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS, held at Fred Beekman Park on the Ohio State University campus.
Croy, who presided over the marriage of Adam Share's sister at Maple Grove United Methodist in 2004, had been a "very regular customer; he came in a couple of times a week," Jen Share said.
"He started coming in kind of less and less but still remained a family friend," she added.
These two connections came together to inspire the Shares to put on a special fundraiser at their restaurant today through Sunday, May 16-19.
"It's kind of one of the things that's always been in the back of our minds," Jen Share said.
The Jersey Mike's owners printed 1,000 cards that were distributed at the sub shop, through the church and available at the ALS Association's offices, 1170 Old Henderson Road.
For a donation of $2, the cards can be redeemed at the North High Street store for a free sub.
Often, restaurants donate a percentage of sales to a cause during a fundraiser, Jen Share said, but she and her husband wanted to do something more to boost revenue for this year's Walk to Defeat ALS, which will take place Sept. 29.
For more information about the event, email coordinator Angela Husted at email@example.com or call 614-273-2572, extension 107.
"We would like to bring in what we can," Jen Share said. "It's hard to really put a goal on it."
"The Jersey Mike's thing is to give back to the community," Adam Share said.
"This is really the first time we've done a fundraiser of this magnitude before ... but it's a charity that we care about because of the tie-in with my husband's family and Bill is a family friend," Jen Share said.
Since learning that someone else he knows has ALS -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease after the New York Yankees legend was diagnosed with the disease in 1939 -- Adam Share said he's spoken with his father about the death of his younger brother 20 years ago.
Adam Share can recall going to Pataskala with his father twice quite near the end of James Share's life.
"You lose your motor skills, but not your mind," Adam Share said. "That's what I remember my dad telling me -- that he can't talk, but he knows you're there."