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Science

ALS and the Effect on a Family

ALS Challenge Accepted

ALS is a disease that has no cure.  It really doesn’t even have anything that helps it, much.  I saw the terrible affect that it had on my very own uncle.  It was very hard to watch my uncle, who was such a strong man, deteriorate right in front of my eyes.  My uncle was a war vet, a police officer for LaGrange Park and an all around great guy.  My family probably wouldn’t want me to put my uncle’s full name out there, so I won’t.

What should be understood about my Uncle George is that when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease the doctor was going to tell him all of the stages of the sickness.  My uncle opted to not know anything about it.  He didn’t want to know how his body was going to react, how his body wasn’t going to work anymore and most of all, how his whole being was not going to be his own anymore.  I watched this great, strong and generous man whither and eventually die, leaving a whole family with grief and even confusion.

What my uncle’s diagnosis and decision to not know did; it prompted the whole family to look into ALS.  Nobody knew what exactly this disease did.  Scientists and doctors still don’t know exactly what causes Lou Gehrig’s disease.  We found out how the body was going to react and how we could attempt to make things as good as we could for him.  ALS is a progressive degenerative neurological disorder where the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord deteriorate.  What exactly happens is that the muscles waste away and that leads to paralysis and eventually death.

The cells that are affected are the lower motor neurons and they are what control things like limb movement, swallowing and even breathing.  What makes this disease unique and maybe even more painful is the fact that your faculties are completely intact.  This means that you are completely aware of everything; you think and process information fine.  Now think about that for a second.  Your body is completely deteriorating and you are fully aware of it.  Is that a little bit scary?

I do understand that some people find the Ice Bucket Challenge stupid.  I get that some people are just looking to do something fun that the whole internet is jumping on like the neighborhood slut-bag and they are missing the fact that even though you throw the ice water over your head, which has brought a lot of awareness to ALS, you are still supposed to donate $10.  Now think about this for a second; if everybody donated $10 that has thrown the water over their heads that would be a lot of money.  Please don’t forget to donate after you take this Ice Bucket Challenge and thank you Charlie Sheen.

 

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