Recently, many of us have seen videos on social media showing people taking the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. This campaign is intended to raise awareness and money for the fight against ALS. Sadly this campaign hits very close to home for me; my brother-in-law’s father, Dennis, passed away from this truly horrible disease just last month. As you will see in the video (above) I participated in my own challenge this past weekend…there I am in the black T-shirt!
What exactly is ALS? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease (outside of the U.S. this disease is more commonly known as MND or Charcot’s Disease). The disease attacks neurons in both the brain and spinal cord which, in turn, affects muscle function. As the motor neurons are lost, the muscles begin to atrophy. Patients will often lose the ability to move their arms, legs and body. This eventually makes the control of voluntary muscle function an impossibility. As the disease progresses and the chest muscles become paralyzed it becomes increasingly difficult and eventually impossible to breathe. Even more tragically patients are completely alert and aware of their bodies shutting down around them. ALS is a terminal illness. It affects roughly 5 in every 100,000 people worldwide. The current prognosis is often approximately 2-5 years from diagnosis. Dennis lasted just about 11 months from his first becoming symptomatic. He was 63 years old.
You can learn more about ALS here. To make a donation to help those with ALS via ‘The Gleason Initiative’ click here. Whether you choose to educate others, to take part in your own challenge (I nominate you all!) and/or to donate…please spread the word and spread the love! Thank you.
In memory of Dennis Gleason…