What is ALS? Most people may think of Lou Gehrig’s Disease and his famous speech at Yankee Stadium.
But you should know it is a horrible, horrible way to die.
I have a family member who has ALS. It is a disease in which her muscles and neurons stop communicating. Over time she will lose control over the muscles, eventually not being able to control any muscles. Her mind will not be affected. So while she will stop walking, being able to feed herself, and eventually breathing (those muscles stop too), she will be conscious of everything going on around her. It is a horrible way to die. You basically suffocate to death.
The disease is more well known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was the famouse NY Yankees Slugger in the 1920’s and 1930’s who died from ALS. His going away speech at Yankee Stadium is famous.
Another NY Yankee, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, also died from ALS.
Other famous people who died of ALS include Stephen Hawking, Mao Zedong, Jacob Javits, Eddie Adams, Dennis Day, Jason Becker, and David Niven. There are many more.
A great site to visit as an introduction is kidshealth.org. Their content is clear, concise, and understandable.
Here is a good video to learn about the disease.
Other sources of information:
I also recommend reading Tuesdays with Morrie. It is a bestselling nonfiction book by American writer Mitch Albom. It tells the true story of Morrie Schwartz and his relationship with his student, Mitch Albom. Both the film and the book chronicle the lessons about life that Mitch learns from his professor, who is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Follow-up: Mom died of ALS on April 2, 2009. It was a blessing. She was in so much pain. She is now free. We miss her and know she will always be with us.
Please support ALS research and the ALS Foundation of Greater New York.