Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a cause very near and dear to our hearts at Independence Plus, Inc.
For nearly 30 years, IPI has been providing people with ALS and other complex medical and respiratory needs the opportunity to live fulfilling lives at home. We see the challenges faced by the approximately 6,400 people in the U.S. diagnosed with ALS each year, and that is why we were honored to support the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter’s Iron Horse Ball, a charity fundraiser held last night at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall.
The event brought out more than 500 guests who danced under the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world and enjoyed tasting stations from some of Chicago’s top chefs while raising money for research, advocacy, care services, and awareness of ALS.
This progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing motor neurons to die and resulting in the loss of the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement. Eventually, ALS patients are left with total paralysis, inability to swallow or breathe, and ultimately multi-system organ failure and death.
While the cause of ALS may not be completely understood, over the course of the past decade scientific research has made great strides toward the hope for better treatment options. Help us keep the conversation going to increase understanding of the disease. To learn more about the mission of the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter, and how you can get involved in May’s ALS Awareness Month activities, visit www.alsachicago.org.
Facts about the disease from the ALS Association at www.alsa.org:
- Although the life expectancy of a person with ALS averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable, and many people can live with the disease for five years and more. More than half of all people with ALS live more than three years after diagnosis.
- Once ALS starts it almost always progresses, eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe and shortening the life span. Progression differs from person to person. While the average survival time is three years, about 20 percent of people with ALS live five years, 10 percent will survive ten years and five percent will live 20 years or more.
- ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries and can affect anyone.
- Military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.
Check out the following blog posts highlighting a few of our patients and the courageous ways they have taken on their battles with ALS: