PHILADELPHIA, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bill Fehon is well known in the little borough of Bryn Athyn, PA for two things: teaching high school at the Academy of the New Church for more than 30 years and his original barbeque sauce. He began making his sauce in the early 1990s; over the years, friends and family would ask for more sauce as soon as they finished up the bottle they received at the holidays. As the demand for sauce grew, Bill started to think about making a business with his recipe. But before Bill could realize the dream of selling his sauce, his brain began to deteriorate.
"Bill is one of the most cheerful and physically fit 59-year-olds," said his wife, Diane. "But after spending a few minutes with him as he repeats elephant jokes and silly comedy skits, it's easy to see that he has the personality of an eight-year-old. He struggles to recognize common foods or read simple words. He can't make the sauce because he can't follow his own recipe."
FTD is a degenerative brain disease, affecting the frontal and temporal lobes. It strikes in a person's 40s-60s and can affect a person's ability to speak, to the point that they become mute. It can affect a person's behavior—eating off strangers' plates, inappropriate sexual advances, a voracious appetite for sweets in particular, extreme apathy and speaking in repetitive phrases are a just a few examples. It can affect a person's ability to move—people may fall or be confined to a bed or wheelchair due to advancing muscle weakness or rigidity akin to ALS or Parkinson's disease.
Determined to do something positive with Bill's diagnosis, his wife and five sons took Bill's barbeque sauce recipe and made his dream come true—they sold their first bottle of Bill's Best BBQ Sauce in May 2011. Since then, the family went through the process of USDA-certifying the sauce as organic, and more than 7,000 bottles have been sold on amazon.com as well as 30 stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
In the process of creating the business of Bill's Best BBQ, the Fehon family decided that a greater good needed to come from their labor. For every bottle of sauce sold, the Fehons donate 10% of the profit to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD). A nonprofit organization based in Radnor, AFTD advocates for more funding into the causes and treatments of frontotemporal degeneration, as well as provides caregivers and patients with a dependable source of accurate, reliable information and support.
"FTD is not a faceless disease," said AFTD Executive Director Susan Dickinson. "Bill represents tens of thousands of people around the country struggling with FTD. When families like the Fehons step forward to make a difference, the entire FTD community moves closer to finding care and a cure," said Dickinson.