Heaven Hill has announced that longtime Master Distiller Parker Beam has been diagnosed with the early stages of ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” He’ll continue to work at Heaven Hill as long as possible, and the company is planning to donate $20 from each bottle of this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey to the ALS Association, with a goal of raising $250,000.

Parker celebrated his 50th anniversary in the whiskey business at a celebration on October 23, 2009 at Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Kentucky. Here’s his entire speech from that evening.

Of course, we wish Parker and his entire family all the best!