BENEFITING: Project ALS
May is ALS Awareness Month, if you are not familiar with ALS, or as it is also known as, Lou Gehrig's Disease, here is a brief description. ALS, or amyotrophic laterals sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment – "No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their demise. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. The motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle control. Examples of voluntary movements are making the effort to reach for a smart phone or step off a curb. These actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs. For those of you who may not know, my Father was diagnosed with "bulbar ALS" when I was 13 years old, and I lost him to the disease when I was 15. "Bulbar ALS" is a different onset of the disease that starts in the throat and mouth rather than the limbs, it causes the loss of speech first. Project ALS, a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify and support leading scientific research toward the first effective treatments and a cure for ALS, is doing a "don't talk-athon to raise funds, and awareness for ALS and it's research and this is my challenge to help raise funds for research. In addition to a donation, on May 22nd, I challenge you to join me in not speaking for 1 hour or more if you can, in order to raise awareness. Maybe create a note that states why you are remaining silent, and when people notice you are not speaking you can share with them the cause. Any amount you may be able to give helps fund research, and using the CrowdRise site, allows the funds to go directly to the charity. I appreciate your support more than you will ever know, and I hope you will join me in silence on May 22nd.