ALS was first described in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn't until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease when he abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS. Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. When the motor neurons die in ALS patients, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. I am running this half marathon for my Aunt Ann Depuy who has lost most of her muscle control and has been battling the disease for the past two years. Her ability to stay positive and continue to fight given the circumstances is truly amazing. The ALS Association has committed more than $67 million to find effective treatments and a cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease. Their global research effort has helped increase the number of scientists working on ALS, advanced new discoveries and treatments, and has shed light on the complex genetic and environmental factors involved in ALS. I hope to help them in their mission with my fundraising efforts running the half marathon.
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