Today, we sit down with Stephen Winthrop, our newly elected Chair of The ALS Association Board of Trustees to hear his thoughts on the fight against ALS and the role of The ALS Association in that fight. Stephen first joined the Association as a Trustee in 2015. He brings his expertise in fundraising, financial management, grant writing and information management services for non-profit organizations gained from a career in management consulting. He was diagnosed with ALS in November 2013 and immediately focused his energy on the fight against ALS. We are proud to be led by such a great leader and tireless ALS advocate.
There are many ways, both big and small, to raise ALS awareness. Some people have used their filmmaking or public speaking talents to craft compelling stories of those living with this disease. From TED talks to award-winning documentaries, these videos inspire, educate, challenge and entertain viewers, while celebrating the lives of people with ALS and the contributions they have made.
Thank you to the over 600 people that descended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday during The ALS Association’s 2017 Advocacy Conference. So many advocates shared their stories to inspire their local legislators to support important ALS initiatives. Of those in attendance, 286 people were first time participants. Nearly every state in the country was represented, and most importantly, 128 people living with ALS made the trip to Washington, DC. Over 400 legislative offices were visited on both sides of the aisle.
Photo Highlights from a Day on the Hill:
Karolina Phelan and her two beautiful daughters Emma and Sophia from the Greater Philadelphia Chapter lost their husband and father to ALS. Hear from this special family sharing their story with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Donate today to support the fight against ALS.
The ALS Association is at the forefront of the global research effort to find treatments and a cure for ALS. We believe that innovation and collaboration will be the key to winning this important fight. Only by coming together with others around the world who are experts in their fields will we make significant progress. We know collaboration leads to progress.
We’d like to let you know about an exciting opportunity for innovation in ALS called the Springboard Challenge. The Springboard Challenge is a planning grant award sponsored by Partners HealthCare and the Wellcome Trust and which was announced at the World Neuroscience Innovation Forum in London on March 27.
By Joanne Mattingly and Shannon Kennedy
My name is Joanne. I am 74 years old and was diagnosed with ALS September 2016.
My mother, Dorothy, had ALS and died in 1986.
As I navigated my illness, I reflected on my relationship with my mom when she was going through this. I remembered that I spent time with her, but we did not talk about her internal world. She was a kind and loving person but was not comfortable sharing her feelings.
I, being of another different generation, quickly found out that this illness encourages me to grow internally and share who I am with my family and friends. Their visits, calls and cards raise me up.
Although children and teens are very unlikely to develop ALS, that doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by the disease. 85% of people who do have ALS report having children or grandchildren who are directly impacted. Coping with a parent or grandparent’s ALS diagnosis is never easy, but it is especially hard for children, who don’t have the same emotional maturity as their adult counterparts. Becoming a caregiver for someone is a difficult transition to make when you’re used to having that person take care of you. And since it’s unlikely that any of a child’s friends would have experience dealing with ALS, it can leave them feeling alone, with no one to really talk to.
Updated on 5/11/17: We did it! Thanks to your overwhelming support in petitioning Apple, Siri was updated in less than 24 hours. Now asking Siri, “What is ALS?” brings up the following definition:
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and motor neuron disease (MND), is a specific disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles.”
“What is ALS?”
This ALS Awareness Month, we want everyone to know the answer to that question.
Modern technology makes it easier than ever for people get information about ALS. Unfortunately, people cannot learn about the disease through Apple’s popular digital assistant, Siri. The voice recognition program is an integrated part of all current Apple products and Siri reaches a huge number of people. For example, there are more than 80 million iPhone users in the U.S. alone.