ALS: Making a Difference

I attended the Southern Nevada Chapter ALS Walk this last week.  So many Nevadans came out to a beautiful sunny Sunday to support the people affected by ALS here in Nevada.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The term A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.”

In the United States there are almost 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year and that means that ALS affects nearly every two people per 100,000 people in the U.S. Currently, there are 16,000 Americans living with ALS and most are usually between ages 40 to 70. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig Disease. Lou Gehrig is one of the most notable figures to have had this disease and was a famous baseball player who played for New York Yankees. 

The ALS chapters in Nevada for the ALS Association are very active in their communities. This past weekend, Sunday, November 9, I attended the ALS walk in Henderson with the Quantum West team for the Southern Nevada chapter. I really enjoyed meeting the families and the support networks that each team had. There were so many people spending the day in sunny Las Vegas.  The walk was 1.5 miles long, and it circled the small lake by the park in Henderson.  

The participants had designated teams and the one team I loved the most was named “Nana’s Team.” Being a Nana, that one hit my heart to see grandkids supporting their grandmother.

Halfway around the lake I met a family who was there to support their mother, Lisa, from Bullhead City, Arizona. Lisa had borrowed a Quantum Power Chair from NuMotion. I came upon them and could tell the family was having a problem as Lisa used the controls. So, I stopped to assist them and showed Lisa and her daughter how to slow down the controls. This helped Lisa maneuver better.  I learned that Lisa did not have her own power wheelchair yet, as she was just diagnosed in July. I was happy to make sure that Skyler at NuMotion who lent her the chair would be able to help her.

What a great event to be at with our Quantum West team! The walk featured fun pumpkin smashes, the ice bucket challenge and some tasty food. I was also happy to see my friends, like Tammy Stay, who stopped by to see her colleagues at United Healthcare. The support that the ALS Association receives in the community is so important. From the sponsors who keep the fight going, and the walkers walking to fight ALS, a huge thank you to them and to our Quantum West team. They are all great supporters of their community and the people they help to live more independently.

To find out more about ALS you can to go and find a local chapter.

About Madonna Long: Madonna works as a disability advocate to educate policymakers and congressional leaders on disability issues. She is a mother to four children and lives life on her terms, despite a spinal cord injury. Click here to learn more about Madonna.