For the general public, ALS might bring some specific images
to mind. Many might think of grainy black and white newsreel footage of Lou
Gehrig standing in Yankee Stadium. Others might picture the same scene but
replace the actual Gehrig with Gary Cooper from the movie Pride of the Yankees. Still others might picture—and hear—Stephen
Hawking and his computer-generated voice. More recently, Steve Gleason has
become what many think of when they think “this is what ALS looks like.”
But for those living with ALS and those caring for them, the
disease isn’t embodied by a famous person, present or past. ALS looks like a
kitchen reconfigured to allow for a power wheelchair at the table. It sounds
like a ventilator or the hum of other medical devices. It feels like grips on
silverware or textured plastic cups.
As we begin May and ALS Awareness Month, we want to explore
what ALS looks, feels and sounds like for those with ALS and their families. As
these families know, the progression of the disease means near constant change—some
that can be planned for, and some that can’t.
Continue reading This is What ALS Looks Like
As the days grow longer and warmer, we in the Midwest turn out thoughts to summer. And with summer comes the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter Walks to Defeat ALS®. The Springfield, Illinois, Walk is June 15 in in Southwind Park. The St. Louis Walk is June 22 in Forest Park.
These walks would be not be possible without the work of the
Walk Committees. Committee members are involved as participants and behind the
scenes, playing an integral role in the success of the events. The committees
assist in booking vendors, securing in-kind donations, supporting team
captains, recruiting volunteers and assisting with the planning of the events.
Continue reading Walking Together: Walk to Defeat ALS Committee Members Walk for Many Reasons
Conversations about end-of-life care and advance care planning are difficult in the best of circumstances. For those with ALS and their families, these conversations present their own challenges, and the challenges of these conversation are often unique. It can be hard to think about planning for the future while the present has so many complications of its own. It can also be upsetting to think about declining abilities and the inevitable outcome of the disease. But having these important conversations about the future at a time and place that you decide can provide piece of mind for everyone involved.
Continue reading Having the Conversations None of Us Want to Have