What is ALS?
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. These motor neurons connect to muscles throughout the body, and as ALS progresses they degenerate and die. As a result, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost and the muscles of the body begin to deteriorate. With ALS a person's ability to speak, eat, move and breathe are all progressively affected over time. There is currently no cure for ALS, and this terrible disease is most frequently fatal within 3 to 5 years.
There are currently two FDA-approved drugs to slow the progression of ALS. The first of these called Riluzole was approved in 1995 and has shown to prolong life expectancy of ALS patients by several months. In 2017 the FDA also approved a drug called Radicava, which has been shown to slow disease progression in some early onset patients by up to 30%.
There is a lot to be hopeful about as public awareness and research are all increasing at a faster rate than ever before. Recent years have brought a wealth of new understanding about ALS and the ways that it affects the body but there is so much more to do. We have yet to learn what causes the disease, and nothing even close to a cure has been found yet.
People with ALS like myself and so many others need your help. We all want to live in a world in which ALS is a distant memory.
How can I help?
We will gain more momentum toward effective treatments and eventually a cure as more people understand what ALS is and how devastating it can be, so getting the word out is huge.
There are also many places that you can donate, and I highly recommend the ALS Association. They are a great non-profit organization that uses donations to fund research, patient care, and education. The ALS Association Golden West chapter which covers my area has been awarded four out of four stars by Charity Navigator five years in a row, a distinction that only 7% of charitable organizations in the country can claim. I am proud to call the incredible, heart centered and caring people that make up the ALS Association Golden West chapter my friends.
If you would like to donate to help aid in research and patient care for people such as myself it is greatly appreciated! Here is a link to their website:
The ALS Association: Golden West Chapter (This one is specific to my area!)
The ALS Association (This is the nationwide organization)