As many of you hopefully already know, this year's 1% in November is being donated to the ALS Association, Northern Ohio Chapter. When we made the announcement a couple weeks ago we shared how the ALS Association was providing quality of life services to those affected with the disease, as well as providing research funding, for this terrible disease with no cure and very few treatments.
But maybe what you don't know is how this disease changes the lives of those who are diagnosed, as well as their families. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. The disease affects the motor neurons throughout the body, eventually causing the muscles to atrophy and the sufferer to loose control of voluntary muscle movement. Eventually the loss of motor function leaves those in the later stages of the disease completely paralyzed. While the thought of losing our ability to walk or feed ourselves sounds terrible, we must also remember that actions such as breathing and swallowing are also voluntary muscle function. This decline in self-sufficiency takes its toll on the approximately 30,000 Americans who are suffering from ALS at any given time; and it starts the beginning of a very difficult journey for the 15 people who are diagnosed every single day.
The ALS Association has committed itself to being there for every part of this journey. The Northern Ohio chapter, which we are supporting this year, provides a variety of practical services. They are able to provide medical equipment and communication device loans for those in need; these loan closets provide families with used and donated equipment to help improve daily living and communication for those diagnosed. The ALS Association also recognizes that those diagnosed with ALS are not the only ones affected by the disease. This is why they offer support groups and respite care for caregivers, they know that having a safe place to ask questions and feel understood can make all the difference in dealing with the major life changes that accompany this disease. They are also doing their part to put a stop to ALS by funding research and providing educational services to the public. You can read all about what this chapter is doing here.