When he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy eight years ago, Jeremiah Higley said it knocked him off his feet.
But, he said, the worst part wasn't the diagnosis, it was the feeling that he couldn't do anything about it.
Then three years ago, Higley figured out a way to make that feeling go away. He organized a bowl-a-thon at Carson Lanes as a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Northern Nevada.
Since then, he has watched that fundraiser become an annual event and surpass previous years both in participants and in donations.
"It's something that I work hard for, I've written over 1,000 letters asking for donations and support and it pays off," Higley said. "This is almost double the turnout of last year."
On Saturday, about 35 teams took part in the event, which included bowling, a silent auction and a raffle.
Higley said he hopes the big turnout will help him reach his goal of $10,000 for the MDA, which will be used to send children with the disease to summer camp in Lake Tahoe.
"It's extraordinary what he does. He's never been to camp as a camper, but he's been there and seen what it can do for these kids," said Kara Geiger, MDA health care services coordinator.
Jacob Rondeau, 20, of Virginia City, has attended the camp for six summers and said many kids look forward to it every year.
"It's like the best time of the year for many of these kids," Rondeau said. "They provide us with a bunch of things that we can do."
Among the teams that took part were members of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Department, who came down to support Higley.
"We have kind of bonded with him and we wanted to support him," said firefighter Dave Zaski.
Members of the department also bring equipment during the camp to give the campers boat rides and the firefighter's union pays for dinner for the campers.
Geiger said there are more than 70 forms of muscular dystrophy that impact millions of people across the United States.
"These diseases can affect anyone, male or female, black or white and people of all ages and there is no cure," Geiger said.
The MDA knows of about 200 families in Northern Nevada who are dealing with the disease.
Among the items donated because of Higley's letters were a pair of autographed boxing gloves from Sugar Ray Leonard; an autographed script from Jim Belushi and the entire cast of "According to Jim;" autographs from actor Denzel Washington and Clint Eastwood, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus; five autographed basketballs from the Harlem Globetrotters, and three autographed footballs from the 1976 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl team; and autographs from race car drivers Mario Andretti, Mike Skinner and Richard Petty.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.