January 2019 Volume 15

Former Star Athlete Dr. Ronald Gray laid to rest

Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
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Former Kingston College top athlete Dr Ronald Gray who died on October 31 after battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for the last four years was buried on Saturday, November 17.

His body will be cremated and placed in a mausoleum at a later date.

Gray, who once resided on Mountain View Avenue in East Kingston, a wide geographical section where at least three other people are known to have been affected by the rare, dreaded disease, succumbed to his illness in Florida.

Noel Gray Snr, the elder brother of Ronald, and also a KC athlete, told OBSERVER ONLINE that his brother “gave it a good fight.” He was 62.

“He was suffering and we hate to see him go. Seeing a loved one in constant pain with a sense of helplessness and no cure in sight makes you call on the Almighty to take him home,” the elder Gray said.

Noel and Ronald represented KC in athletics in the 1970s, both specialising in the 400 metres, and were instrumental in that historic 14-year winning run that is unmatched until this day. Both migrated to Florida.

“Like all loss of a love one it is devastating despite the fact it was expected. Nonetheless, we are resolved in the fact that he is in a better place with his Heavenly Father,” said Gray.

In 2011 former Reggae Boyz defender Barrington “Cobra” Gaynor succumbed to the disease having lived in Bull Bay and played for Harbour View, the same club as Luton Shelton Jnr, who is now fighting ALS since 2016.

It was also revealed an elderly lady who lives in the Harbour View community, is also suffering from the disease. However, that information was not independently verified by the Observer.

Currently there is not enough data in any one location to draw conclusions that a geographic location can influence the onset of the disease but eyebrows are raised about what is happening in Eastern Kingston after it was revealed that Gray lived in the Mountain View area prior to migrating to Florida in the 1990s.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment, hence "No muscle nourishment."

When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.

Only recently it was revealed that Jamaica's all-time top football scorer Shelton is battling the disease and an outpouring of love and cash has been coming in from all over to assist with his medical expenses.

Howard Walker

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