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Letter: Local ALS awareness drives matter

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 2:44 p.m. CST

To the Editor: About 1,000 people in Illinois have ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease, and about 250 more are diagnosed each year. The disease may seem relatively rare, but we find many people know someone who has been affected by the disease.

At the Les Turner ALS Foundation, we are working toward the day when no one is affected by the disease. We are dedicated to treating and eliminating ALS through research, patient services, education and advocacy.

During National ALS Awareness Month in May, hundreds of Les Turner ALS Foundation volunteers participated in Tag Days drives, collecting donations and raising ALS awareness. The Tag Days drive in Elmhurst was a success, raising more than $1,600.

We thank Ninfa Queyquep for her efforts as the local Tag Days captain and are deeply appreciative of the people who supported the cause. Tag Days drives were held in 29 communities and volunteers collected nearly $80,000.

ALS causes motor neurons to stop working and die. The result is loss of voluntary movement and muscle functions such as speaking, swallowing and breathing. About 10 percent of all cases are inherited, and a faulty protein pathway is known to play a role in all types of ALS. Though treatment of symptoms often improves quality of life, there is no cure for ALS.

Founded in 1977, the Les Turner ALS Foundation serves more than 90 percent of the ALS population in the Chicago area and is affiliated with Northwestern Medicine, where it funds both a clinical care program and two scientific research laboratories. The Foundation offers comprehensive patient services, such as support group meetings and professional in-home consultation services.

To those who donated through Tag Days and to those who served as the manpower behind this effort, thank you. Your support allows us to continue providing help and hope to people with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Wendy Abrams Executive director, Les Turner ALS Foundation

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