Loved ones and supporters of Montclair firefighter Kevin Berry, who has been battling ALS for two years, are collecting funds to help with his treatment.

Berry, who now lives in the Whippany section of Hanover Township, started his career as a firefighter at the age of 22. When he retired at the age of 50, Berry went to have his annual checkup with his doctor.

"My doctor noticed muscle twitching in my biceps and suggested I see a neurologist. I took his suggestion and went to several different neurologists because the twitching was getting worse," Berry wrote on GiveLively.org, a fundraising site. As of Tuesday, Dec. 21, the campaign had raised more than $5,700 toward a $75,000 goal.

The fundraiser is organized by HARK-ALS, a non-profit organization focusing on finding a cure to the disease.

After numerous tests, Berry's neurologist told him that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which nerve cells break down, reducing functionality in the muscles they supply, the campaign site states. The cause is unknown. The condition is sometimes called 5,717 of $75,000.

"My wife and I were devastated. Wondering how this could happen, why did this happen, how would we tell our then 18-year-old daughter?" Berry wrote. "After we came to grips with the news, we both decided that we were going to do everything we could to fight this disease."

Berry wrote that for several years he has been trying everything from medications, supplements, physical therapy and occupational therapy. He said the disease is slowly progressing.

"I went from running into burning buildings to asking my wife to help me with tasks that I used to accomplish in seconds," Berry wrote. "I went from playing ice hockey three times per week to having the limited endurance to get out of bed. This disease has changed my life and my family’s life. All the plans we had are now out of reach. I now need to fight for my family because my family is my whole world. I hope that one day we will be able to do all the things we had planned to do."

He wrote that he's "exhausted clinical trials, but we are not giving up or losing hope," moving on to experimental treatments that are not covered by insurance.

Donations can be made through the donation page. Check donations can also be made to HARK-ALS, 5 Pirozzi Lane, Hillsborough, NJ 08844, with "Kevin B" on the memo line.

— Diego Jesus Bartesaghi Mena