An avid skier, cyclist, and hiker, Father Jim has been a pastor at St. Michael’s Parish in Olympia, Washington for over twenty years. With members of the church community, he has traveled to numerous countries for both missionary work and recreational trips. A few years ago, he began having difficulties with muscle twitches, upper body weakness, and leg cramps. Before long he was diagnosed with ALS.
The urge to support, or be supported, is often accentuated at times of great challenge, or uncertainty. As anyone living with ALS or being an ALS caregiver knows, this disease can bring plenty of both. That’s why The ALS Association provides support groups in every state.
Pat was a former solutions team lead at Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) company, and spent his 25-year career in GIS creatively using mapping technology to solve real-world problems in the utility industry. Forced to retire in 2018 due to the progression of his disease, he had no idea where his passion for mapping and data would take him. “After my diagnosis, I wanted to bring GIS to the ALS battle, but wasn’t sure where to start,” says Pat.
In some way, shape or form, we are all list people. Some people are of the pen and paper list variety, others have taken to keeping notes on their phone or online calendar. And even those who would claim to not keep lists probably have an idea of some “to dos” they keep in their head. For ALS caregivers, far too often the last thing on their lists is themselves. So, here’s a list of ALS caregiver “to dos” for their own self-care and wellness.
We discussed the incredible strides being made in the science of preventing ALS with Dr. Stephen Goutman, Director of the Pranger ALS Clinic and Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan.
After my dad was diagnosed, there was no hesitation that our family was going to fight alongside him. So that meant it was time to volunteer with The ALS Association. We all knew right then and there that our volunteer work wasn’t going to save our father, but it was going to help others not feel the devastation we were feeling at the time of his diagnosis.
We spoke with Dr. Melinda Kavanaugh, clinical social worker and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to understand more about young caregivers and the potential harms caused by the lack of quality of sleep they receive and what can we do about it.
Jack Finlay was just 22 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. Working toward his degree at the University of Montana, he vowed to not let the disease get in the way of achieving his dreams and living his best life.
We are pleased to share our 2022 Mid-Year Report, detailing the work and achievements that have shaped the first half of this year, touching on all aspects of our mission: research, care services and advocacy.
Jake met Bill Wechsler during his freshman year in high school in Holliston, MA. Challenged with academic and mental health issues at the time, Jake was referred to Bill who was the school social worker for counseling and support. By the spring of his junior year, Jake had made so much progress he no longer needed the formal counseling he had become accustomed to, but he still frequently visited Bill to spend time talking with him. It was around that same time that Bill was diagnosed with ALS.
Multidisciplinary care has been proven to extend life, helping people living with ALS maintain independence longer and enjoy improved quality of life when provided with options for symptom management, assistive technology, adaptive equipment, education, care services and emotional support.
Decreased mobility is a challenge faced by every person living with ALS, and helping people improve their mobility is a key to making the disease livable. It’s also a key to empowering people to live their lives as they want while reducing or preventing physical, emotional and financial burdens, and to enjoy the leisure activities that enrich their lives.
The recent ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a wakeup call for all of us who care about the rights of people being able to make decisions about their own healthcare. No matter your political perspective or leanings, any erosion of the rights for individuals and their loved ones to set the course for their own treatment in consultation with their medical professionals is of great concern.
We talked with Dr. Devesh Pant, postdoctoral fellow from Emory University, to learn more about his research focused on revealing the underlying molecular mechanisms in ALS caused by the SPTLC1 mutations.
While thinking about what I could do that would be a special and fun fundraiser, I noticed a famous drag queen asking for donations to a nonprofit on her social media and I thought “How do I get her to do that for The ALS Association?”
Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning. For the thousands of Americans living with ALS, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of nature present an even greater challenge. Here are some ideas and things to think about to help keep you and your family safe in case of an emergency or a natural disaster.
On June 22, we led delegations of advocates in a full day of virtual congressional meetings to push Congress to support and pass critical legislation that will help the ALS community, including funding for ALS research and making expanded access to telehealth permanent -- 320 ALS Association staff and ALS advocates from 46 states shared their personal stories and experience living with ALS with more than 300 members of Congress and their staff.
June 21 is a solstice, a turning point, if you will, and each year the ALS/MND community around the world celebrates Global ALS/MND Awareness Day to express their hope that this day will be yet another turning point in the search for causes, treatments and ultimately a cure of ALS/MND.
Since Mark’s diagnosis in 2000, he has been committed to the fight against ALS on many levels. Over the past 21 years, he has advocated locally at the state level and nationally on Capitol Hill. He’s volunteered at innumerous events with The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter and served on the Chapter’s board and Services Committee. All who know him say his ALS diagnosis does not define him, instead it motivates him to do more and to give hope to others.