Sunday, September 11, 2011

Walk to Defeat ALS

Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.

Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries.

To be perfectly honest with you; I never knew what Lou Gehrig's Disease was until a few years ago. I vaguely remember an off color joke made about it in an episode of Family Guy (I'm a little ashamed to say it but yes...I watch this).

Then in 2009; ALS hit very close to home for me. I had been at my job for a little over a year and my boss Todd Cook was having severe leg spasms that would keep him up nightly. After several doctors appointments they finally diagnosed his condition as ALS. I will never forget that day. Todd called me to let me know but I wasn't able to answer the phone. He left me a voicemail that I still have saved.

Most people would be somewhat concerned for their boss but it is a little different when your boss is also your friend and mentor. Todd continues to motivate and push me to try to reach my full potential. Heck, if I could be only as half a good as he was I would be very okay with that.

This disease not only affects the individual diagnosed but family and friends as well. It is very hard to watch someone that you have known to be such a strong person start to lose the use of their muscles. I can say this about Todd; he has not lost his sense of humor and remains positive. Those are a few of the things I've always loved about him.

Myself along with many others are going to be joining in on the Walk to Defeat ALS. It will be held on October 22, 2011 in Atlanta, GA. I have posted links to my personal page where you can find more information about the walk and also make donations. I've set a goal for myself to raise $210.00 before the walk and right now I have raised $25.00 (self donation).

This crippling disease can strike anyone. Presently there is no known cause of the disease though support is bringing researchers closer to an answer. In the mean time it costs an average of $200,000 a year to provide the care ALS patients need. Help make a difference and donate or join a walk today.

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